It’s the time of the year where our students are dreaming of pools, Popsicles and lounging around the house with no homework. Although this is a time for students to recharge and refresh, “the summer slide” is an ever-present concern for teachers and parents alike.
As the old saying goes, use it or lose it. The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) estimates that some 30% of learning from the academic year can be lost during summer break. As a teacher and a mom, here are my go-to ways to limit summer slide that parents will find easy and practical.
Visit the Public Library
Most public libraries offer a summer reading program that encourages students to read during their break. As kids track their reading, they reach incentives and earn prizes along the way. My kids can get coupons for fun family summer experiences like free tickets to a ball game, not to mention free ice cream and pizza vouchers.
In general, libraries are a terrific resource to keep kids reading and mentally active on a budget. Many public libraries have educational online resources and online games that all kids with a library card can access for free. Libraries can also connect you with free or discounted admission to local museums and other attractions.
Parents often seek out resources they can use at home to keep their kids engaged with their academic skills. Indeed, just an hour a day with the right resources can keep those skills sharp. Summer Skills offers reasonably priced workbooks from pre-kindergarten to pre-algebra and everything in between. The books are structured to be a quick daily review rooted in Common Core learning, and includes help guidelines and answer guides for parents.
The one area often overlooked during the summer is writing, even thought it’s really the perfect time to practice. From grocery lists to postcards for friends while on vacation, there are a lot of little opportunities for students to practice functional writing skills. And because school rules don’t apply during the summer, there are ways to make writing not as functional but way more fun, like letting kids use glitter pens, fun stationery or encouraging exploration into creative writing.
While it is important to keep academic skill sets sharp, I always remind parents that summer learning should be viewed as more of a maintenance program. Make sure to balance academic work fairly with the summer fun that kids do deserve!