Kevin Wilhelm Blog: Take the pledge to steer clear of the ‘summer slide’

Ahh, summertime. For me, it brings to mind chasing after the ice cream truck and running through the sprinklers.

I sure don’t want to think about schoolwork over the summer—and my kids don’t either—but the reality is that during summer break children lose critical academic skills, especially in reading.

This disproportionately affects low-income students, who tend to lose up to two months of grade level equivalency in reading during the summer, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.

Reading to children, engaging in outdoor play, and ensuring kids have adequate meals during the summer can have a big impact on avoiding what’s called the “summer slide.”

We want all kids to be prepared in September when school starts back up, so that’s we’re joining forces with the National Summer Learning Association to focus our attention on the issue of summer learning loss in honor of the annual United Way Day of Action. Each year on the longest day of the year, June 21, United Ways around the country celebrate Day of Action to encourage action or advocacy around an issue.

Over the next week, we will be sharing resources with you on our website and social media channels – including tips for learning over the summer. We will be inviting you to participate in a pledge to celebrate summer learning, and we will give you ideas for ways you can honor that pledge. We will also be sharing with you an interactive map where you can find and share summer learning activities. We are happy to add your summer learning opportunities and resources to the map as well. Just contact Sheryl in our office at

To stay informed, you can sign up for our e-mail distribution list.

You can also find us on Facebook, and we are tweeting from the handle @middlesex_uw.

Happy summer!