Addressing Summer Slide

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 in her Hope College office

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.

Trending for Halloween: Scary Stories

Dr. Kendra Parker

With Halloween at its end, October is the time for scary stories. While we’re familiar with narratives like Frankenstein’s monster, Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart, “The Blair Witch Project” and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Dr. Kendra R. Parker’s longtime research focuses on lesser-known depictions of black female vampires in African American women’s novels and American films.

Cover Image: “Biting Back” by Mandela Wise

Parker, an assistant professor of English and affiliate faculty in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, has written extensively on the topic, and in December, her first book, She Bites Back: Black Female Vampires in African American Women’s Novels, 1977-2011, will be released by Lexington Press.