Education: Summer Slide

For many, summer is a fun time to enjoy camping, going on vacation and being with friends. But for children living in low-income homes, there's a big hurdle to overcome, it's referred to as "Summer Slide."
Summer Slide is when children stop reading over the summer break. Kids from low-income families lose two to three months in reading skills each summer, while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Those losses add up over time. 
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In the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro, it's important to address the summer reading gap, considering the following data: 
    • Douglas and Sarpy Counties: 11,227 kids in grades 3 through 8 and Grade 11 weren't reading on grade-level in 2015-2016.
    • Council Bluffs: approximately 2,100 (32%) of students in grades 2 through 11 were not reading on grade level in 2015-2016. 

The work being done on this issue is encouraging. High-quality summer and year-round learning programs that include specially-trained staff, smaller class sizes, individualized instruction and family involvement have demonstrated success in improving children's reading and math skills.**

One way to help United Way of the Midlands improve the summer reading gap in our community is to volunteer individually or as a group. Available reading-related projects:

    • Assistants who serve under a group leader at a local nonprofit, providing one-on-one attention and helping students stay on-task
    • Volunteers who help club members improve their reading skills
    • Tutors who provide homework help  to elementary school students



United Way of the Midlands and local nonprofit partners are helping many of those students strengthen their reading skills all year long. 



The generosity of many individuals in our area has empowered United Way of the Midlands to invest with the goal to reduce poverty in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. To learn more about how we invest, visit: 


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For group volunteer opportunities, please contact Dani Ohlman at or 402-522-7949.