This “Tips for Preventing the Summer Slide” post was sponsored by Carson Dellosa Education as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Are you familiar with the summer slide? No, I’m not talking about your local waterpark slide that all the kids flock to when the temperatures start to soar. The “Summer Slide” I’m referring to is also known as “summer learning loss” The Summer Slide is the idea that the retention of what was learned in the previous grade slides down during the summer. The child then begins the next school year behind where they were at the end of the previous year.
I would love to tell you that this is a myth, but the honest truth is that the summer slide is real and it can have a big impact on a child’s overall confidence and their academic performance going into the new school year. In fact, in a study conducted by NWEA (North West Evaluation Association), researchers found that “summer learning loss was observed in both reading and math in third through eighth grades, with students students losing a greater proportion of their school year as they grow older — with a range between 20 and 50 percent!” That is sobering! To add insult to injury, the students most at risk for the greatest loss of learning are lower income children.
Believe me, we all enjoy the lazy days of summer (especially THIS mom)…late nights, sleeping in, no schedules, and lazy days by the pool. After the chaos that the last month of school brings, we are all ready to be rid of schedules. But just a few minutes of reading and math practice each day can have a huge impact on a student’s retention of concepts previously learned!
Here are some tips for preventing the summer slide:
1. Make a (loose) schedule.
Even if you don’t stick to it every single day, having a schedule for the summer days gives everyone a bit of peace knowing what they can expect. I love unscheduled days but I have found my kids are much better behaved when they have some idea of what is coming next.
2. Sign your child up for summer reading at your local library.
Most libraries offer incentives and prizes! Make sure they read for at least 20 minutes each day (or whatever your library program requires). Read aloud to children too young to read to themselves or for kids who just enjoy being read aloud to (I still read aloud to my 9-year old every night before bed…he is a great reader but it is our special time together).
3. Purchase a Summer Bridge Book.
We were given one copy of the Carson Dellosa Summer Bridge books for this post and I purchased two more for my other children. We have done these workbooks for several summers and I really appreciate the structure that they provide to our summer as well as the reassurance that our kids are still retaining what they learned in the previous school year (and perhaps even learning a bit more)!
The books are structured to complete one page per day (front and back) and my children each do one page per day Monday through Friday. We don’t typically take them with us when we leave town, but they would certainly be easy enough to pack! Each day’s work includes some math practice and some type of grammar, reading, or writing exercise in addition to some interesting factoid or physical activity. My kids are typically done within 10 or 15 minutes at the most. I love that each day is different! The Bridge books are challenging enough for my kids but aren’t frustrating even when they present new material.
Bonus: The answer key is in the back of the book, making checking their work a breeze! :)
4. Start a book club for kids.
Pick two or three age-appropriate books for your kids and their friends. Host a pizza party (or choose themed snacks to match the book). Print off a few questions or even create an activity for younger kids. We are trying this book club idea out this summer with my son who will be starting sixth grade and five or six of his friends. Even though I am sure they will probably talk about the book for all of ten minutes, at least they can be encouraged that they are all reading the same book!
5. Encourage your friends and neighbors.
The summer slide can hit children from lower socioeconomic families the hardest. If you have friends, neighbors, or people you go to church with, consider purchasing a Summer Bridge book or offering to drive children to the library to check out books. As parents, we should always be willing to help each other out! After all, it takes a village!
What are some ways that you encourage your child(ren) to continue learning throughout the summer and prevent the summer slide?