Avoid the summer slide

Now that our students’ summer vacations are in full swing, it’s a good time to remember that time off from school should not be time off from learning.

Studies have repeatedly shown that students who lose access to books and other learning materials when school is not in session lose significant chunks of the skills they gained throughout the previous school year:

“In the summer following third grade, students lose nearly 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school-year gains in math,” Megan Kuhfeld wrote for the Northwest Evaluation Association. “By the summer after seventh grade, students lose on average 36 percent of their school-year gains in reading and a whopping 50 percent of their school-year gains in math.”

They call it the “summer slide.” When that loss happens, teachers have to spend precious weeks on catch-up at the start of each school year, weeks that could be spent moving students forward.

So make sure to make learning an everyday occurrence all summer long. Encourage your students to read every day. Teach math lessons while your kids help you shop at the grocery store. Get them involved in learning activities at the library or other club. Watch documentaries on Netflix or check them out at the library. Several websites, such as kids.nationalgeographic.com, offer free online learning games.

Enjoy the summer, but don’t let your kids slide.