Ideally, summer is a time of fun, new experiences, lots of outdoor time, swimming, perhaps camp, a vacation, recreation programs, summer sports, and a more laid back routine. However, do you know it also produces something often referred to as summer slide? This term is used to identify the academic losses that occur for all children during the summer months, if they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. In fact, it has been found that students lose about two months of grade level math skills during summer months and that low-income students lose more than two months in reading skills during this time as described by the National Summer Learning Association in their article titled ‘Know the Facts‘. It can also refer to the quality of life type losses that occur for many economically disadvantaged students, in terms of nutrition, appropriate adult supervision, and meaningful personal and social activities. Such factors contribute to the achievement gap between low and higher income youth and make a difference in high school completion, college entrance and career options.
Now is the time to ask yourself what you can do to prevent summer slide. During this past week, it was announced in the Buffalo News that the “Say Yes Program” will contribute $1.2 million to Buffalo Public School so that the district can offer summer school to all elementary students this year. It will run from July 8 to August 1, with transportation and meals provided. For the first time, students will also be offered summer enrichment activities, from community organizations, alongside regular academic work. Remedial summer school will also be available for students in seventh through twelfth grade, with transportation to be provided. Additionally, there is the possibility of a full day summer school program for students who need to retake more than two subjects.
More information is slated to come home to Buffalo School parents in the coming weeks. If you are outside the Buffalo School district, you might want to ask yourself if your school district is offering summer programming. If such programming is not available in your district, what about your local library? All libraries seem to offer summer reading incentive programs, alongside extra summer activities to entice young people to read; be enriched; and have fun. What might you do at home? Scholastics.com offers some great and easy tips to keep your children’s brains powered up in their article titled ‘Seven Ways To Stop Summer Slide‘. National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Mindshift” project also offers a bevy of ideas to curtail summer slide. Plan now and help your child soar through summer, rather than slide.