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  • Writer's pictureJordan Raglow

Avoid the "Summer Slide"

Educators have been concerned with the "summer slide" for over a century. This is the idea that students fall behind during the summer months off from school. There is a lot of research and data to show that this slide does, in fact, happen. But just how bad is it?

Dr. Adiaha Spinks-Franklin of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston is an expert in developmental pediatrics. She was quoted in this Verify article from WFAA stating, "'The research has found that students can lose up to three months of reading skills and up to two months of math skills over the summer break.'"

Additionally, this summer learning gap disproportionately effects students of lower-income. According to the National Summer Learning Association, "By fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave low-income students between two to three years behind their peers. Research shows while gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, the gaps widen significantly during the summer. Regardless of income, most kids lose two months of math skills in the summer,".

While arguably, any academic engagement during the summer is better than none, it is important for parents to be aware of this seemingly inevitable summer slide and make efforts to close the gap in any way that they can. While we don't want kids falling behind, most children aren't quick to jump on the summer learning bandwagon. The goal is to make learning as fun and painless as possible. Don't worry, here are some easy ideas to help get started:

  1. Read together as a family as often as possible (ideally 30+ minutes per day). Simply reading more often can help bridge the gap between school years. Reading as a family, though, can help create a life-long love of reading in your child. I've yet to meet a kiddo who didn't enjoy being read to.

  2. Cook together. Turn cookie baking into a fun way to engage with numbers and fractions. Choose a recipe and double it! Have your kiddos help you calculate the new measurements and throw them in the bowl. This is a great way to show kids that math has real (and delicious) applications in their lives. You could even take it one step further and have them help set a grocery budget for their cooking project and go to the store to purchase their ingredients!

  3. Go to the library or a museum. Free and air-conditioned activities are awesome summer activities! Most libraries offer summer activities such as story hours or book scavenger hunts. Kids can search for books that truly peak their interest without having to spend a dime. They can take them on planes or road trips, too. Often times libraries will also have a summer reading challenge that kids can participate in. This is another great way to get them motivated to hit the books! Many museums in your area might be free year-round or offer free or discounted days/times during the summer.

  4. Do math with sidewalk chalk. Who doesn't love drawing with sidewalk chalk? This is a great and simple way to get your kiddos doing math and playing outside! Check out FrugalFun4Boys for more ideas on this one.

  5. Take a class or enroll in camp. If you're able to afford to enroll your kiddo in a summer class or camp this can also be a great opportunity to engage their brain while having some summer fun! This could be art class, cooking class, science camp. There are limitless options!

  6. Write a letter or postcard to a friend or family member. Going on a family vacation? Have your child pick out a postcard at a gift shop while they are there. During some down time, or when they get home, have them write a letter to someone about their trip! Writing is a great way to fine tune reading skills.

  7. Listen to podcasts together. In the car running errands? Going on a long road trip? Podcasts can be an easy and engaging way to learn new things with your child. This might even spark interest in a new topic that they can then go learn more about at the library! Check out Safe Lagoon for a list of 10 podcasts to listen to with your kids.


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