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"Keep Reading" and More Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide

Colorful backpacks lined up on a grassy hill waiting for students to avoid the summer slide

Tips to help avoid learning losses this summer

At last, summer has arrived! We’re sure everyone is ready for a break after such a challenging year. However, it’s important to ensure that your child maintains the academic gains he or she made this year – that means avoiding the “summer slide.”

We discuss what the summer slide is and six ways you can help prevent it.

The summer slide explained

The summer slide is well-known among education experts. It’s a phenomenon whereupon students lose some of the knowledge they learned during the school year. A review of 39 studies found that students’ achievement test scores decline over summer vacation. In the fall, it is typical for teachers to spend the first few weeks of school trying to help students “catch up” so they will be prepared for new lessons.

“Things like decoding, letter knowledge, and word reading skills are very susceptible to decay without frequent practice, as are math facts like addition and subtraction,” says James Kim, Ed. D., and assistant professor of education at Harvard University.

So, while summer is a time for fun and vacations, it’s also important that you take steps to prevent learning losses. Fortunately, we have six ideas you can try at home.

1. Encourage your child to read

According to Scholastic Books, reading just six books during the summer can do a lot to ensure your child is ready for school. Find different ways to incorporate reading into your family’s summer schedule.

Here are three ways to encourage reading:

  1. Read something every day

  2. Find something your child likes to read. It can be a fiction book or any material your child likes

  3. Ask your child to read out loud

2. Check out your local library

In the age of the Internet, we often forget the resources to be found at a library. Aside from making checking out books and movies for free possible, libraries schedule tons of fun and educational summer programs for kids, including summer reading programs and challenges. Many schools and organizations sponsor reading challenges at libraries, too.

The Brooklyn Public Library System presents a two-week day camp in the summer for kids ages 7-12. The theme changes every year but always features fun activities that incorporate STEM subjects, history, literature, culture, and the arts.

3. Turn your vacation into a learning experience

Going somewhere this summer? Research your destination with your child before you go. Encourage him or her to find out more about the history and geography of the area, as well as things to do once you get there.

4. Listen to audiobooks

The popularity of audiobooks has increased in the last few years. They can provide great entertainment on long car or plane trips. They’re also a good way to increase your child’s vocabulary and knowledge of new concepts and ideas. You can buy audiobooks but most libraries let you check them out for free.

5. Play cards and board games

Cards and board games are great ways to engage in family fun while “sneaking in” opportunities to learn. Look for games that incorporate counting, math, memorization, reading, vocabulary, understanding money, and understanding shapes/size/colors.

Here are some ideas for games your whole family can play:

  • Apples to Apples

  • Battleship

  • Candy Land

  • Chutes and Ladders

  • Clue

  • Crazy Eights

  • Go Fish

  • Life

  • Monopoly

  • Old Maid

  • Pictionary

  • Puzzles (any image)

  • Scrabble

  • Sequence for Kids

  • Sorry!

  • Taboo

  • Trivial Pursuit Jr.

  • Uno

  • Yahtzee

6. Practice math skills

We can’t forget math skills. There are plenty of workbooks and online resources. The Texas Instrument website includes “Math Nspired” resources. They also have support for other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects.

You can incorporate math learning into daily activities, like:

  • Cooking

    • Measure ingredients

    • Multiply and divide to get exact amounts

    • Learn how to set a timer

  • Gardening

    • Calculate how much room is necessary for a garden

    • Make/count rows

    • Measure the distance between holes

  • Banking – It’s never too early to help your child learn about money

    • Determine how much money you have

    • Learn how to make the correct change

    • Figure out how much money your child needs to save to buy something

  • Nutrition

    • Calculate how many calories, carbs, and protein are in a meal

    • Calculate how much water they should drink every day

  • Navigation

    • Calculate distance/miles based on the scale on the map

    • Calculate miles vs. kilometers

    • Determine how long until you reach a vacation destination

Stay active this summer to prepare for fall

These six ideas will help your child retain the knowledge they learned during the school year and avoid the summer slide. Summer break calls for some rest and relaxation but you don’t want to let all the knowledge your child learned slide out of his or her brain. Keep them sharp.

Even though summer is just starting, you should think about where your child will go to school this fall. Lamad Academy Charter School (LACS) is committed to “spirited learning, growth, development, and fun. We empower our students to ask insightful questions, explore disciplinary boundaries, and confront conventional ways of thinking.

We invite you to learn more about our school and discover an education built for your child.

Contact us with questions or enroll now.

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