Preventing (and Reversing!) the Summer Slide

Lisa Renn
Capti Voice
Published in
4 min readJun 13, 2019


The Summer Slide (or learning loss) affects students of all grade levels and can cause an ongoing literacy struggle throughout their time in school. Capti Voice can help to prevent this learning loss by evaluating a student’s reading strengths and weaknesses and offering personalized, actionable recommendations within the program to help students improve.

What is the Summer Slide?

Learning loss over the summer months can be cumulative which means that students fall further and further behind after each summer. Furthermore, the summer slide is often affected by the income-based achievement gap. Some students simply do not have access to books or resources at home, which puts them at risk for losing up to two months of literacy skills each summer. So, by the sixth grade, students who don’t read at home over the summer are likely to be 2 years behind the rest of their classmates.

How can Capti Voice help?

Capti can help by giving you a better understanding of your students’ reading skills and how to improve those skills. We have recently introduced a panel of reading assessments to help teachers pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in specific reading skills. The assessment tests students in the following six areas:

  • Word Recognition & Decoding
  • Meaning & Relationship
  • Morphological Awareness
  • Sentence Processing
  • Efficiency of Basic Reading Comprehension
  • Reading Comprehension

Not only does Capti assess students’ reading strengths and weaknesses, but also it suggests activities and tools within (and outside) Capti to help improve those skills. Most students benefit from simultaneous listening and reading; some students may benefit from playing the Word Challenge Game, others by filling their Word List with challenging vocabulary.

By knowing your students’ reading level before the beginning of summer vacation, you’ll have a baseline to judge just how much learning loss affected them (or by how much they’ve improved their reading). The summer slide can be prevented by having a plan in place before the end of the school year and by getting students excited about being in charge of their own learning and reading over the summer. It only takes about twenty minutes of reading per day to prevent and even reverse the effects of the summer slide. The problem is, how do we get students interested in reading on their own time?

Get your students on board!

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” — J.K. Rowling

The easiest way to get students excited to read is to let them have some say. Kids are endlessly fascinated by the world around them. By building upon their interests, you can help each of your students create their own summer reading playlists in Capti Voice so they will have access to the books, articles, and blog posts that pertain to their personal interests.

Learn how to create playlists here.

Here are some topic ideas to get you started:

  • Science: Did you hear about that black hole?! Students who are interested in science will have a blast exploring different articles from fascinating marine life to the vast expanse of outer space. Check out Science News for Students for relevant articles.
  • Sports: While I couldn’t tell you the difference between a touchdown or a goal, there are students out there ready to recite batting averages going back twenty years! For your sportier students, check out Sports Illustrated for Kids for fun articles about their favorite teams.
  • World Cultures: Were you obsessed with ancient Egypt as a kid? I sure was, and it sparked a fascination with different cultures all over the world. Check out Kids World Travel Guide for great articles exploring different cultures, their histories as well as interesting facts about their geography and religion.

Once you’ve mapped out your student’s interests and located interesting articles, you can add them to their playlists by using the Capti Voice Chrome Extension.

We’ve recently upgraded Project Gutenberg in Capti Voice so the most popular titles are organized by grade level and easy to find. Learn how to add tracks here.

You can continue to add material to the shared playlist and students will know that new articles or books have been added by the “New” icon that appears on their playlist. Use our Writing on documents feature to add notes and point out important plot moments, or ask your students questions about the article. They can respond to your questions and then export their responses and email them. You can include summer writing prompts to make the reading more interactive, or ask students to highlight their favorite moments in the text and then access those notes by using the sidebar on the right side of the screen.

Key Takeaways

The summer slide can be prevented and reversed by encouraging students to read at least 20 mins/day

  • Use Capti’s foundational reading skill assessment to gauge your students’ strengths and weaknesses; you can establish a baseline of literacy and get recommendations for tools and activities within Capti that will help improve weaker skills
  • Work with your students to create a custom playlist that pertains to their unique areas of interest. Give them the control of what they read over the summer
  • Add books and articles to the playlist over the summer and interact with students to encourage active reading

For more information about using Capti to help prevent the summer slide, please click here check out our webinar.


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