There’s no doubt summer vacation provides students with a needed break from school. But as any student will tell you, the summer is also ample time to forget content learned in the past school year. A study published in the American Educational Research Journal found that the average elementary and middle school student will lose a staggering 17-34% of their school-year gains over the summer.
This phenomenon is known as the summer slide. Students struggle once back in school as they juggle relearning old material with new content. One study in the “Review of Educational Research” found that students need to regain approximately “2 months of grade-level equivalency in math computational skills” to return to where they were at the end of the last school year.
So what can you do to beat the summer slide? Here are five ways to ensure students stay sharp over the summer.
Reading is a great and easy way to keep a student’s learning on track. Colorado’s Board of Education found that reading just 4 to 6 books over the course of the summer can help prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from the spring to the fall.
If you’re looking for a place to get started, check out the Scholastic Summer Reading program. Scholastic provides free, carefully curated digital stories for children throughout the summer.
2. Autonomous Learning
In our modern day and age, students have a vast array of autonomous learning tools at their disposal. Students can continue learning on their own over the summer using free educational websites such as Khan Academy and Coursera. Just 30 minutes a day can help a student stay on top of their learning.
For students that prefer a little more guidance when learning, tutoring can be a helpful tool. Students can work with their tutors to create specialized learning plans and brush up on areas they struggled with in the past year. Tutoring can be highly effective, not only stopping the summer slide but helping a student get ahead for the coming year.
4. Camps and Summer Programs
Educational camps and summer programs let kids have fun with friends while still ensuring they stay on top of their learning. Camps and summer programs have also been shown to improve students’ self-confidence and leadership skills, vital traits for any successful student.
5. Encourage Smart Play
Smart play makes learning fun for young children. Games such as Brain Quest, Prime Climb, and Boggle test students’ math, reading, and reasoning skills in ways that are still enjoyable for them. Smart games also provide the perfect opportunity to have a family game night and make learning a whole-family activity.