STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

What is the "summer slide" and why does it sound so fun?

Happy summer! Most school districts around the state are officially dunzo with the school year as of the end of the day today.

It's doubtless many kids have lots to celebrate after closing a successful year. These pages are full of stories from kids and parents who work incredibly hard to get a quality education. 

But it's also a sure bet lots of kids are tired out and looking forward to rotting their brains for as long as they can get away with it.

Enter the fun-sounding but still ominous "summer slide," where kids show up for class in the fall and need to be re-taught things they already learned.

To keep kids learning some parents do workbooks and flash cards, some go to the library more.

Some, for whatever reason, don't do anything.

For a kid who's enrolled in a creative summer camp, a  lack of parent involvement might not have a big impact come September. But summer camp often costs (a lot of) money. For parents with fewer financial resources summer demands more creativity and focus on summer learning, however unfair that is. 

Because statistically, it's lower-income kids are the ones most affected by a lack of summer reading. The summer slide has been linked to persistent achievement gaps between lower-income and higher income kids for a long time.  

What's going on in your community to help parents and kids stay engaged in learning over the summer? As these programs roll out or you discover something new, let us know in the comments or just email us.