When the final school bell rings for the year, there’s a multitude of feelings. Some may feel joy, relief, sadness at missing friends and others-well just a sense of dread. Many students, their parents, and their future teachers know the reality of the dreaded “Summer Slide.”
Summer learning loss is a real thing and can happen in two ways: forgetting what we’ve learned and not making any progress over summer vacation. Research has shown that students can forget 25-30 percent of what they’ve learned. It can be difficult to balance the need for our children to not forget what they’ve learned, time to relax AND keep up with everything they should do to prepare for school again.
AVOID THE SLIDE
The “Summer Slide” doesn’t have to be a given. No matter your situation or grade level, here are four steps students and parents can take together to move forward, not fall back:
1. Read. Read again. Read more.
With the availability of paper and digital books, you have more opportunities than ever to read every day. Be sure to read together with your student, read everything you can (like billboards on a road trip!), brochures at vacation stops, historical markers along the way or Google the history of places. Then discuss what you are reading with open-ended questions.
2. Explore Your Fascination
Encourage learning, show your children that it can be fun and reward curiosity by letting students research things that interest them. Support them by looking online or for books about those topics. This will serve them well later when they need to make big academic and career decisions.
3. Don’t Underestimate What These Kids Can Do
Learning can be messy and full of failure and, quite honestly, that’s OK! Sometimes the best surprise is that we simply tried. Be sure to challenge your kids to take risks and emphasize hard work and effort over natural talent. Reading, writing, and exploring are FUNdamental to the process. Good one-right!
4. Embrace Math, The Core of Science and Tech
Math during vacation? It’s easy to find and identify math concepts in games, activities, and trips to the playground. Brush up on everything from simple to advanced math in art, music, video games, camping trips, and much more.
You don’t have to sacrifice students’ summer fun to help them retain what they’ve learned. It’s all about making connections and making it fun. Following these steps will help provide a routine, and ideally, confidence for the day when school begins again!