School Programs Tackle the “Summer Slide”
Two area schools work to combat the “summer slide” by offering programs for students. Noble Elementary invites students to the media center to brush up on reading skills over the summer. Osseo Area Schools students participate in the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools program as a way to get students reading and engaged.
Tackling Summer Slide at Noble Elementary
When students are off school for the summer, sometimes the last thing they want to do is pick up a book and read. If students are not engaged in a summer camp program, it turns into what teachers call “the summer slide.”
“Something we’ve learned is that students without opportunities will slide in their reading and math skills. Students who have more opportunities will actually gain,” says Michael Rieckenberg, principal at Noble Elementary.
Teachers at Noble Elementary are fighting back against the summer slide. Three times this summer, they are opening up the school’s media center for reading and learning. Teachers also earned grants so students could get a free book to take home too.
“We have so many students who came back in the fall and they haven’t had the opportunity to read and check out books and enjoy reading,” says Vanessa Orwick, a teacher at Noble Elementary. “A lot of kids have found that reading has been connected with quizzes and testing. We had to bring back the joy of reading.”
The school plans to host one more reading opportunity this summer on August 16.
Harambee program combats Summer Slide
Students in Osseo Area Schools combat the summer slide by participating in the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools program. The nationwide system of summer reading school offers a unique twist. The program is offered this year at Crestview Elementary School in Brooklyn Park.
“We come in and dance together. We sing together and we do our cheer and our chants,” explains Monsurat Shittu, an instructor with Freedom School. “I came into it last year not knowing anything and then after that, I’m like I have to do Freedom Schools every year. I have to be involved in this movement as much as possible because I do see it does make a difference in our community and makes a difference in our kids.”
The morning ritual involves cheers and chants. Students dance and sing for a half hour in the “Harambee” program. Harambee means “to pull together.”
After that, students spend time reading.
“We usually talk about reading and how you can do anything with reading like it can be fun and not boring,” says a student named Taylor Starks.
Teachers say the method works to engage kids and make learning fun. Then, students feel ready to return to school in the fall.
Registration for the Freedom School takes place during the school year.