summer slide
n. The academic setback that some children suffer after being off school for the summer.

Example Citations:
A new Montgomery County summer school program that sought to accelerate struggling students, rather than concentrate on tedious review, appears to have stemmed the academic free-fall that many poor and non-English-speaking children experience during the summer, according to a study to be released today.

The study found that 4,000 children who attended the intensive four-week program did not experience what researchers call "summer slide," forgetting key academic concepts over the summer break.
—Brigid Schulte, "Weak Pupils Rise Above 'summer slide'," The Washington Post, November 11, 2002

NOVA, the job training and employment program administered for six Santa Clara County cities by the city of Sunnyvale, has lined up contracts with three school systems and a non-profit children’s health agency to provide training...for economically disadvantaged young people this summer...

“It’s a major change for us,” said Mike Curran, NOVA director. “One of the main reasons is to take kids from economically disadvantaged families and stimulate them during the summer, to halt the ‘summer slide.’”
—Leland Joachim, “Council offers kids job training,” San Jose Mercury News, April 20, 1994

Earliest Citation:
Later this month, on the last day of school at White Street Elementary in Springfield, fifth-grade teacher Kathy Nozzolillo will give each of her students a going-away gift, a a book to read over the summer.

It is part of Nozzolillo’s attempt to keep her students from falling victim to what researchers call the Summer Slide Back or Summer Lag, a phenomenon that strikes untold numbers of children who don’t read during the summer.
—Barbara F. Meltz, “Keep them reading all summer long,” The Boston Globe, June 5, 1992

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