Stopping the Summer Slide
What is a fun way to keep those reading and math skills up over the summer and suffer the traditional summer slide experienced in most students?
It is well documented that the “summer slide” is indeed real and impacts most school age children. A study published in Sage Journals found that students lose overall the equivalent of one month of grade level learning over the summer Sage Journal Link. In addition, a study conducted by NWEA of 3rd and 5th graders found they lost an average of 20% of their reading skills and 27% of their math skills as measured by MAPs testing between spring and fall semester, so over the summer. 2020 NEWA Study
The last thing most kids want to do is more school activities during the summer. Summer is time for swim lessons, sports, and playing outdoors. The challenge for a parent is how to stop the summer slide and still have fun in the summer? The challenge is even greater if your child already struggles with reading, math, or attention skills.
There are several things you can do that don’t take up a lot of the day and can help stop that slide. A few practical examples include:
- Read a little bit every day; for younger kids 15 to 20 minutes at night before bed really helps. For older kids, reading a book as a family and discussing it is a good activity.
- On a long drive vacation; read a book in the car, everybody read a few pages and pass the book around.
- Check out your local library; they have great reading suggestions for kids of all ages.
- Use math work sheets for younger children, complete one or two each week but work on it every day.
- Check out Kahn Academy or other free online resources for curriculum targeted at building specific math skills.
- Limit screen time; creativity improves when I have to make my own fun.
What about those children that continue to struggle in reading, math, or with attention? For those kids you should consider something a little bit more robust and targeted like cognitive skills training or tutoring. The first step would be to figure out the root cause of the problem, especially for older kids that have struggled for multiple years.
A cognitive skills assessment like the one we use at LearningRx is key to determining what is causing the problem. For example, is it weak memory and auditory processing skills that are making reading difficult? Or is it weak processing speed, visual processing, and logic skills that make math difficult, or is weak attention and memory skills that are causing attention issues?
In a recent blog I compared tutoring to brain training. Tutoring is a good option if you are trying to close the gap on missed content or struggles with a specific subject. Tutoring will be more like school - which might be a big bummer for the kiddos over the summer. Brain training uses game like exercises to address the weak skills, so it is fun! Much like other summer activities.
There are fun options to address the summer slide, and tackle more difficult issues before fall starts! Summer Slide Video