Zariah Muhammad is not your average rising 4th grader. She likes cartoons, video games and snack-time like all other kids. But she also knows the importance of learning all year round. Her favorite subject is reading. However, she sometimes struggles with math. Multiplication tables have been her biggest challenge.
Her mom, kindergarten teacher Amanda Muhammad, was worried that Zariah would fall behind while not in school. This is known in the education world as the summer slide. When kids lose/forget what they learned in the school year during the summer, they slide backwards. They then start the next grade behind. Once they begin middle school, many kids are 2-3 years behind where they should be.
Mom found a creative way to use Zariah’s interest in music to fight the summer slide. “She loves [Silento’s] “Watch Me” and [Fetty Wap’s] “My Way.” She plays them all day on YouTube around the house,” says Amanda. They decided to use these instrumentals to help Zariah remember her times tables. “Summer Slide Pt.1” is what they came up with.
Zariah wrote the lyrics to the song with her mom and dad. In fact, the whole thing was a family affair. Zariah’s dad, Zavious – an army sergeant and music production student, helped her record her vocals and edited the video. There is even a cameo by her little brother, Zion.
Since its release in early July, “Summer Slide Pt.1” has received very positive feedback. The video has over 1,200 views on Facebook and nearly 1,000 on YouTube. A reporter from Indiana has contacted Zariah for more information about her story. And an Atlanta producer has volunteered his production talents to help record the next song and video.
Zariah, who will be nine in November, is a big hip-hop fan. Her favorite artists are Fetty Wap, Iggy Azalea and Becky G. While the music kids listen to may not always have the best message, the familiar melodies can be used for a great purpose. Along with her mom, Zariah wants to inspire kids towards learning and positivity.
When asked if she has any advice for other kids, Zariah was eager to share: “It’s not the school year anymore. It’s summer. So you can play.. But you can learn and have fun at the same time!”