Let’s make this the best summer ever for our smart girls in more than one way. Yes, it will be loads of fun but let’s also send them back in a few months with as little learning loss as possible.
What are we talking about? The dreaded summer slide.
This guide is a quick explainer. We share 3 facts about the summer slide that you should care about and we offer strategies to prevent both the reading and math slide.
What is the Summer Slide?
The summer slide refers to the perishable nature of learning and achievement. Just like we say of muscles, kids do lose an estimated month of learning each summer due to the extended break in learning.
Scholastic’s biennial survey of parents of children under 17 revealed that 47% of parents were unaware of the summer slide but for those that were familiar with it made significant effort to prevent it.
3 Important Facts About the Summer Slide For Parents
- The Faucet Theory: Sociologists Entwisle, Alexander, and Olson’s hypothesize that the summer slide is caused by the slowdown of learning that occurs during the school break. Throughout the school year, the “learning and resource faucet” is turned on high for all students and then turned off or at least considerably slowed down during the summer. This is what leads to the summer slide and especially affects students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who have very limited access to learning resources outside of the classroom and school environments.
- Older Kids are Affected More Than Younger Students: Updated research on summer slide was conducted last year and focused on MAP growth assessment test. The MAP test is taken by 20% of students in schools across the nation and it is taken yearly to monitor skills development and academic growth. The research showed that learning loss increased from elementary school to middle school.
More specifically, 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. 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.
- Greater Academic Dips Occur in Math Than in Reading: reading activities tend to be much more built into a family’s fabric of life than math. As such kids are more likely to forget everything, they learned in math during the school year than in reading. It is not that they forget concepts, kids retain the general idea of what that have learned but usually don’t retain the associated procedure or steps.
Preventing the Summer Reading Slide
Keep things simple but somewhat structured. Keep your daughter learning all summer long!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Have your daughter read for at least 20-30 minutes a day.
- Consider having your daughter sign up for a reading challenge and attached a fun reward to it (i.e. read X number of books by the end of the summer)
- Listen to audiobooks on road trips instead of letting them watch movies.
- Start a mother/daughter book club for the summer and read books that you and your daughter can have rich conversations about after.
- Use your public library as your resource. There is so much to take advantage of especially during the summer.
Preventing the Summer Math Slide
Find ways to review the previous school year’s math concepts in everyday life. For example, Reinforce fractions while cooking, measure household objects, and practice addition with fun and colorful items.
To really help set your child up for success in the new year, start to preview the concepts that she will learn in the next grade. Your goal here is not mastery, but really to create an awareness and preparedness for those new concepts that will help ease her into learning it when it comes up in class.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Read math stories. We love recommending Bedtime Math book!
- Play math games like Blokus and Monopoly
- Practice word problems. For older kids, books like Two Trains Leave Paris: Number Problems for Word People can be game-changing.
- Work through a workbook of exercises practicing the next grades concepts.