You know that practice makes perfect – so what happens when you don’t practice for an extended period of time? Many students view summer vacation as a time to completely separate from academic pursuits. While taking a break is important to avoid burnout, doing so may cause your child to fall victim to summer slide.
What is Summer Slide?
Summer slide (or summer learning loss) is a term used to describe the effects of summer vacation on student learning, specifically the decline of a student’s academic skills and difficulty transitioning back into the classroom environment. Every year, parents find themselves in a struggle between how to combat the summer slide while still giving their children the break they need to return to school feeling refreshed and ready to learn.
Is Summer Slide Real?
A 1996 review of 39 different studies serves as the foundational research on summer slide. The review found that students lose about one month’s worth of education during the summer, as determined by Fall vs. Spring test scores. In addition, the review found that the effects of summer learning loss were more significant on math than reading, and the negative effects of summer break proved more detrimental with increase in student grade level.
More recent analysis points out that summer activities of that research period (the 1970’s and 80’s) were largely different than they are today. This is important because the review found that the impact of summer learning loss was affected by the opportunities students had to practice their academic skills during the summer. Advances in technology mean that students have greater access to information, practice materials, etc. – which is good news for you and your child!
How to Prevent Summer Learning Loss:
Summer learning loss is very real, but it’s also very avoidable. Our simple suggestions for how to prevent summer learning loss will make sure that your child is able to keep their skills sharp while also enjoying their hard-earned vacation!
Read every single day:
Reading is a great way for your child to continue learning all summer long, often without even realizing it! Your child doesn’t need to read textbooks or even the classics for reading to be beneficial, either. If there is a topic of particular interest to them, summer reading is a great opportunity for them to explore it. You can also read aloud with your child to keep them engaged and do an activity together. Even a few pages a day can help keep summer slide away.
Visit your local library:
While not strictly an academic setting, visiting your local library consistently over the summer can make the transition back into the classroom less shocking to your child’s system. In addition to offering boundless free reading material, libraries offer a safe, usually air-conditioned space for your child to explore. Libraries also often provide programs such as reading groups and author talks that your child can participate in that lend a social aspect to learning that summer can lack.
Review skills and activities:
Going over everything your child learned during the school year won’t make summer feel like much of a break for either of you, but you can pick and choose! Dive deeper into topics your child is interested in and use them to practice important skills like reading comprehension and writing.
Incorporate summer learning loss games:
When we hear the term “educational games”, most of us think of computer games or apps. While these are certainly an option, studies have shown that spending time outside has a positive impact on children’s ability to focus and absorb information. Outdoor activities can promote learning and still be so much fun that kids don’t even realize they’re maintaining their academic skills!
Depending on the age of your child(ren), volunteering can be a great way to exercise social skills while giving back to the community and having college-worthy application essay experiences. Ask your child about causes they care about and search for organizations that are actively supporting those causes in your area. You can also look for opportunities to volunteer as a family.
Summer Learning Programs:
A structured summer learning program led by academic professionals is one surefire way to make sure your child doesn’t succumb to summer slide. At La Jolla LearningWorks, we offer personalized, one-on-one summer programs to help students maintain their academic skills over the summer and ensure a smooth transition back to school in the Fall. Regular progress reports for you, ensures that everyone remains on the same page to best support your child’s learning. Subjects offered include: reading, writing, math and problem solving, executive functioning skills, test prep, and more.
Schedule a call today to learn more about our summer programs.
Summer slide, or summer learning loss, describes the deterioration of academic skills during the summer months when school is not in session. This often results in a rocky transition back into the classroom and difficulty gaining momentum at the beginning of the new school year. Studies have shown that summer slide is a real phenomenon that affects students more significantly the higher their grade level.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take throughout the summer to mitigate the effects of summer slide. Going to the library with your child, encouraging them to read every day, participating in learning games with your child outside and inside, and volunteering with your child are some strategies to help your child keep their skills sharp while still allowing them to enjoy their vacation.
Summer learning programs like the ones we offer at La Jolla LearningWorks are also a perfect way to make sure your child doesn’t lose any of their hard-earned skills during the summer. Learn more about how our summer programs can help your child avoid summer slide and start the new school year off right!