Have you ever heard of summer slide? And no, we’re not talking about playground equipment here. This slide is one you really don’t want your kids going down!
Summer slide is the term that many teachers and researchers use to refer to the loss of skills and knowledge that students experience over the summer. A 2019 study points to the fact that these losses are widespread – more than 50% of children experience this learning loss. And according to Nick Morrison in his Forbes report, the “slide” can be quite substantial, with some children losing up to 40% of the academic progress they made in the previous year.
The bottom line? Children are losing essential academic progress over the summer months. This can make their return to school in the fall a little bumpy, especially as they encounter fresh challenges in their new classroom. Thankfully, however, you can work with your children over the summer to ensure they retain the academic progress they worked so hard to make last school year!
#1 Read to Your Child
Take some time to read to your children every day – even if they’re older! According to a Nielson research study, most parents stop reading to their children by the time their child turns eight. However, there are HUGE benefits if you keep reading with your children beyond this age. Nearly 75% of children ages 8-13 whose parents read to them ALSO read on their own for fun!
#2 Encourage Your Child to Read on Their Own
It’s also important that you encourage your children to read on their own! Try to avoid turning it into a “chore” for them – instead, take them to the library to pick out new books or encourage them to take a book outside.
#3 Engage Your Child in Other Academic Activities for 30 Minutes a Day
Take some time each day to work together with your children on an “academic activity.” There are plenty of game-based learning activities you and your children can choose to engage in — crossword puzzles, brain teasers, or online math games all fit the bill! As with reading, you’ll want to work to keep this time fun and stress-free for them. It is summer, after all!
#4 Use Everyday Activities as a Learning Opportunity
Are you heading to the post office? Have your young child calculate how much money you need to buy a few postage stamps. Headed on a road trip? Look a map with your children and ask them to help you plan different aspects of your trip – anything from how many miles you will drive to how much you need to budget for gas. These real world challenges will keep your children engaged and learning!
#5 Take Your Child on “Field Trips”
Summer is the perfect time to take your children on local “field trips.” Visit the Omaha Doorly Zoo, the Children’s Museum, a community garden, or a program at your local library! Make sure to talk with your children about what they experienced and learned!
There’s still a good amount of summer left, and that means there’s a good amount of time for you to work on essential academic skills with your children. We hope these tips help you get a start! And, if you need a little extra support, keep our Summer Kickstart program in mind. We know it can be easy to forego the extra practice needed to keep kids sharp (and that kids don’t always LOVE working with their parents), so each July we host Summer Kickstart to help your kids get the extra academic attention they need.