The Summer Slide and How to Avoid It
What is the Summer Slide?
The summer slide is the decline in reading and math skills that occurs during summer break. Many of the skills that students learn over the course of the school year prepares them for the upcoming year. If they have forgotten everything over the summer, they start the school year at a disadvantage. This slide in academic skills is even more apparent in low-income students. Students can lose up to two months of grade level mathematical computation skills and more than two months in reading skills. (Edudemic)
The effects of the summer slide accumulate over time. "The achievement gap between high- and low-income students widens every year, and a study by Johns Hopkins University found that the slide could account for two-thirds of that gap. Summer learning loss isn’t just a problem for your child’s next school year. It’s a problem for their whole life.” (The Northwest Herald)
Suggestions for Avoiding the Summer Slide
Summer Enrichment: Summer is a good time to fill in learning gaps. If you know that your child is weak in a particular subject, enroll them in a summer learning program or summer tutoring.
Family Reading Program: Set up a summer reading program with your child in which he or she chooses an agreed-upon number of grade-level books to read per month. Consult the child's teacher or a librarian for advice. In order to show solidarity, the entire family should participate.
Specialized Summer Camps: Enroll your child in a specialized summer camp. These camps are fun and incorporate hands-on activities into their curriculum. Some of the more popular ones include computer, science and math camps.
Pick the Teacher’s Brain: Conference with your child's teacher and ask him or her to suggest summer workbooks, science activities, essay topics and interesting summer activities for your child. You may even be able to elicit help in assessing your child’s performance.
Learning While Vacationing: If you are planning on taking a vacation this summer, you can turn it into a social studies activity. Ask your child to research the destination's history, cuisine, popular attractions, etc. Also, once you reach your vacation destination, you can schedule tours of famous landmarks and locations, which will increase social studies knowledge.
Summer Journaling: Have your child write a daily journal of all the things learned each day. Remember, you will need to orchestrate learning activities for your children, because you can't trust that they will be able to do it on their own.
Turn Daily Activities Into Learning Opportunities: If you’re at the grocery store with your kids, challenge them to add up the total cost of your purchase. Driving to grandmother’s house? Ask them to find certain colors, shapes, or patterns along the way. If you’re dealing with older kids, think of appropriate variations.
Learning Locally: Don’t forget about the local park, museum, zoo, aquarium, etc. Your local community is full of learning opportunities you’ve probably never considered. (Education World)