Avoiding the Summer Slide
With students taking a break from school to enjoy summer vacation, it’s important for parents to be aware of a phenomenon known as the “summer slide.” No, it’s not the polished metal slides that get dangerously hot in the summer sun, although, you should be aware of those too.
Summer slide refers to the learning loss that can occur during the summer months. A 2016 study of the issue concluded, on average, students lose between 25 and 30 percent of the previous year’s academic gains during summer break.
Preventing Summer Learning Loss
Summer learning loss highlights the importance of parents being their child’s most important teachers. You were your child’s first teacher — teaching them to walk and talk and interact with the world around them. While you gained valuable allies in your child’s classroom teacher or child care provider, your role as their teacher is not over, especially when your allies are on summer vacation.
While the idea of your child losing nearly one third of what they learned during the previous school year during summer vacation is upsetting, don’t worry, these simple tips give you the chance to prevent that loss.
Read Every Day
Reading with your child every day, and encouraging them to read on their own when they’re old enough, is one of the best things you can do to improve your child’s literacy skills and prepare them for success in school and life.
Ways to Encourage Reading during Summer Break
- Enroll in a summer reading program at your local library or create your own program with time set aside each day for reading.
- Kids are much more likely to get excited about reading when the reading aligns with their interests. As you spend time together, keep tabs on what your child is interested in. Did they really like the polar bear at the zoo? Did you have to drag them out of the ancient artifacts exhibit at The Nelson-Atkins Museum? Then, next time you visit the library, find books about the topics of interest.
Explore Your Community and Beyond
Summer offers an abundance of opportunities to expand your child’s world by exploring the Kansas City area and beyond.
Ways to Make the Most of Trips and Vacations
- Exploration is about asking questions and finding answers. If you’re exploring a familiar place, be a tour guide and teacher, if not, ask questions and find answers together.
- Research before you travel. Find destinations and attractions your child will be interested in. Find ways to bring things they’ve studied in school to life. Find things you’re excited about too, and use the opportunity to introduce them to your interests.
- Give your undivided attention. Your child will likely remember these trips for the rest of their life, live in the moment and make happy memories.
Teach Social and Relationship Skills
A quality education is much more than learning reading, writing and arithmetic. Children need to learn about trust, honesty and healthy relationships. Summer break offers many opportunities to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships with family and friends.
- Introduce your child to different cultures, and help them explore their own identity and family history.
- Encourage your child to join a team or club. This is a great way for them to engage with peers in shared interests. Don’t forget, adults aren’t a child’s only teachers.
The classroom isn’t the only place learning happens. With schools closed for summer break, the world becomes your child’s classroom. Help them make the most of it by taking advantage of the many exciting adventures summer offers.