Is your child the type of student who finds the first few weeks of a new school year to be particularly rough? They might be struggling to play catch-up thanks to the Summer Slide. The Summer Slide is the amount of knowledge an average student loses throughout a long break from academic work. Studies have found that students lose about one entire month of learning they had gained the previous year. It is expected that students who have had to learn remotely will most likely have additional gaps to cover as schools plan for a full return to class next fall.
Read on for 5 ways to avoid The Summer Slide.
Dive into Summer Reading
It is fairly common for English teachers to assign at least one book to read over the summer (and AP teachers often assign more). While these may not always be your student’s favorite topics, it is a great idea to encourage students to find a book they would be interested in at, or above, the reading level that will keep them occupied at least a few hours every week. The site Sparknotes.com is full of summer reading ideas and offers a multitude of topics to encourage readers.
Brush Up on Math
When it comes to the Summer Slide, this is where studies have found the biggest losses in learning. While not as relaxing as reading a book on the beach or by a lake, working on math topics throughout the summer can significantly reduce math loss and help students relearn material they may have struggled through during the academic year. It only takes a few 60 to 90 minute sessions each week with a tutor or online resource to help keep this knowledge strong and help them prepare for the next year of math.
Create a Long-Term Summer Project
Does your student have an interest in a particular subject like coding, photography, or even learning to cook? Encourage them to create a goal for the end of the summer that can help them learn a new skill while also strengthening their executive functioning skills. Have them develop a roadmap for the summer, how they plan to learn (such as websites like HourofCode.com or YouTube for cooking classes), and what they expect to know how to do by the time summer comes to an end. Your student will be amazed at what they were able to accomplish in a short amount of time, and they might even find a new future career path they might not have otherwise considered.
Become a Citizen Scientist!
If your student is fascinated by the natural world and science, consider signing up to be a Citizen Scientist. The site Citizenscience.org has over two thousand projects and one million volunteers helping scientists worldwide collect essential data and conduct research. While there is a paid membership to become a full member, there are plenty of forums, news updates, and other opportunities to take part in for free.
Commit to Writing Weekly
Another big area that students struggle with when returning to the classroom is essay writing. Just like working a muscle, it takes time, effort, and practice to become a great writer, which is something students run short of once the school year gets underway. Sites like Almostanauthor.com and Creativity-portal.com offer prompts, tips, and even forums where students can submit their writing for feedback from other writers at any level. You can encourage your student to write short responses to topics that interest them week to week, or take a deep dive into a single idea that they can dedicate time to each week over the break to write about.
Keeping academic skills sharp over the summer doesn’t need to feel like a chore, and by helping your student find a topic that interests them, they can return to class more confident and better prepared for the new year.