Thumbs up: It’s no secret that summer can be an unproductive time for young students’ learning. Between vacations and a lack of structured instruction, the “Summer Slide” is an all too real phenomenon for many youngsters. To help lessen that effect, a partnership between Carroll County Public Schools and McDaniel College’s Graduate Program for Reading Specialists has resulted in a reading clinic that has been run for more than 40 years. Though the location has changed, the goal has remained the same: giving graduate students a practicum experience while helping prevent summer slide or even improving the reading skills of the elementary-schoolers. The four-week program is for rising second- through fifth-graders. “We try to make it extremely motivating and fun for students so they don’t even realize they’re learning so much,” Mel Rhoads, adjunct professor and facilitator of the clinic, told us. To that end, aquatic decorations and a wide selection of books about the mysteries of the sea immersed students in this year’s theme, “Under the Sea.” There’s nothing wrong with having some fun time off during the summer. But if some of that time can be spent reading, it will be for the better.