Years of research supports what teachers already knew. Kids who don’t read over the summer fall back academically. Sometimes called the “summer setback” or the “summer slide”, this phenomenon can not be taken lightly. The researchers have sobering information for all of us.


  • Kids who do not read over the summer can lose more than two months of reading achievement. Summer reading loss is cumulative. By the end of grade 6, kids who have fallen back during all their summers away from books, can be two or more years behind those who read. (“The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores”)
  • It is common for teachers to spend a month or more re-teaching what had been previously taught. That means a month of the school year with little new learning.  (Reading is Fundamental)
  • Elementary students who read 10-15 books during summer break can gain as much in reading achievement as those who attend summer school. (“Addressing Summer Reading Setback Among Economically Disadvantaged Elementary Students”)
  • A study on grade 6 students found that the effects of reading 4 or 5 books over the summer were “potentially large enough to prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from spring to fall.” (Kim 2004)
  • The only summer activity related to improving reading is summer reading. (Heynes 1978)