A few blogs ago, I mentioned the phenomenon of summer slide. While I wish I was referring to the slip and slides of yore, this term actually refers to the potential loss of academic skills that occurs with many students, as they leave the school building at the end of the school year, for summer break. As it is such an important phenomenon, I would like to share a few more statistics regarding it and give further mention to paying attention to practicing math skills, alongside reading skills, with some practical idea for implementation.
A 2011 study done by the RAND Corporation and cited in an article entitled “Don’t Slip Down the Summer Slide” found that summer learning loss occurs in most elementary schools, with lower income level students hit the hardest. The same article also noted a 2007 study at Johns Hopkins University that found that students can lose up to two months of math and reading skill, with the summer slide. The same study discussed how these effects can be cumulative into the older grades, translating into substantial loss for a junior and senior high student. This study also found that students who were more economically disadvantaged, experienced this to the greatest degree
If this phenomenon is of concern, there are many steps a parent can take. The site the statistics are taken from mentions how parents can set goals around reading and math. For example, little Susie and I will read six books a week and work on math skills for 15 minutes every day. Another tip is to zero in your child’s needs. Get your child’s report card back out and decide which areas need some dedicated attention. Some schools run academic academies during the summer or have partial services, such as a reading program or math camp. Ask a librarian or a teacher what they would suggest as most helpful to little Susie. Parents can also make use of the numerous online resources there are for academic assistance. Scholastic.com and Brain Pop are two that the article mentions — two of many that address reading and math topics There are also many great workbooks out there for parents to use at home. Give your child a page or two to do each day. Lastly, consider a tutor or increased tutoring in a subject that your child struggles with during the school year. Perhaps there is too much frustration or resistance between you and your child or maybe you are not sure how to best teach something to her.
Regular work can go such a long way with keeping skills; improving skills; staying sharp; and increasing confidence. While having a break from school is so important and refreshing, it is also important to keep one foot in the classroom, while the other one is dipped in the pool….