Say “summer slide” and many parents may think of children using a fun piece of playground equipment. But for literacy experts, summer slide takes on a different, unwelcome definition. The phrase “summer slide” describes the decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session.
Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, associate professor of English, is expertly equipped to offer recommendations to parents to help their children avoid summer slide. Van Duinen is a literacy advocate. She writes, teaches and speaks in the area of English education, disciplinary literacy, young adult literature and adolescent and boys’ literacy. Every year since 2014, Dr. Van Duinen has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to direct The Big Read Lakeshore, a community-wide endeavor to broaden understanding and foster empathy through the reading of one common book. In 2016, she received the Michigan Reading Association’s Individual Literacy Award for her leadership of The Big Read and in English education.