More than 100 years of research have documented the summer reading slide, the loss of skills that students experience from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next. Like musicians or athletes, if students don't practice, they tend to lose their skills. Over the three months or so of summer, many kids experience decay in their academic abilities, especially when they don't have opportunities to read.

Research has also suggested that the summer slide is particularly harmful to students from low-income backgrounds. Because they tend to have limited access to quality reading materials,...

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  • About the Author:

    Geoffrey D. Borman, Ph.D., is the president of Measured Decisions Inc. and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He can be reached at geoffrey.borman@wisc.edu.