Preventing the “Summer Slide”
Summer is in full swing! Regardless of the plans, most families look forward to family time and relaxation. But, there is one thing parents (and teachers) dread: the “Summer Slide.”
Myth or Fact?
Research suggests that summer break does not affect all students the same way. So, don’t panic, but do be proactive about engaging in learning activities over the summer. There is data that suggests that many students who don’t read lose ground over the summer, although it is not universal.
Since we know that many students lose a bit of ground over the summer, we can proactively plan activities to keep them thinking over the break.
5 Tips to Keep Your Student Learning Over the Summer
Read, Read, Read!
We know this goes without saying, but research does show that reading or being read to does universally increase student achievement and interest in literature. Choose some fun books and play a comprehension game when you finish a book or a chapter. Here are a few ideas for making summer reading extra fun.
Roll a die after reading. If your child rolls a one, they summarize the reading while standing on one foot. If she rolls a two, they can explain which two parts of the story were the most interesting. When your child rolls a three, he can tell the three parts of the story - the beginning, the middle and the end. A four means that they find four really strong words in the text and make their own sentences with them. Rolling a five requires the student to answer the 5 W’s (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) from the story. If your child rolls a six, toss a ball back and forth naming an important event until someone runs out of events to say.
Choose a book that interests both you and your child and take turns reading pages to one another. Another alternative is to set up a reading party time every day; every person at home (parents included) can read.
2. Reflect and Set Goals
Ask your child about the academic progress they are most proud of, and then reinforce
It. If you worked all year to learn sight words, then play sight word games and set a goal of learning ten more over the break. The most important thing is to keep the area that was challenging fresh in your child’s mind and to intentionally practice those hard earned skills.
3. Play Learning Games
Consider using a site like arcademics, mathland or abcmouse to practice academic skills
in a less structured way.
4. Become an Expert
The summer is a great time to use inquiry to pique your child’s curiosity. Help your student pick a topic that he or she finds fascinating and encourage him or her to become an expert. Read, watch videos, and look for opportunities to teach family members and friends about this new expertise.
5. Build Your Vocabulary
Choose one new word a week to learn as a family. Use the word as often as it is
applicable. Consider choosing new, challenging words to replace overused, common words. This can also be used to give alternatives to less desirable words or phrases children sometimes use, such as hate or too hard. For children who already have great vocabularies, see who can come up with the best alternatives to an everyday word. For example, instead of saying good, proficient, talented or commendable could be used, depending upon the context.
Aside from preventing learning loss, intentionally practicing academic skills and seeking out new information teaches children that learning isn’t just for school; it is a lifelong journey.