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United Way of Southwest Alabama / Uncategorized  / Tips to Prevent Summer Slide

Tips to Prevent Summer Slide

“Summer slide” is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.

Children in low-income households fall behind an average of 2 months in reading during the summer. And, summer slide is cumulative, with these learning losses building up each summer. Differences in children’s summer learning experiences during their elementary school years can ultimately impact whether they earn a high school diploma and continue to college.

Too often students scowl at the idea of summer learning, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, summer is the perfect time to dive into some fun, engaging learning activities. Here are some tips to help prevent summer slide.

Read Something Every Day: For most children, twenty minutes is an appropriate amount of time to read for a child who is an independent reader. Encourage your child to take advantage of every opportunity to read.

Let Them Choose: When children select reading materials themselves and read for enjoyment, they receive the most gains in reading achievement, including better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling, and grammatical development.

Take a Virtual Field Trip: A trip to the Colosseum in Rome? A behind-the-scenes look at the Hershey’s factory? Curious students will find a lot to explore in these virtual field trips and tours featured by eSchool News. 10 of the Best Virtual Field Trips

Keep Them Writing: Give them a notebook and a pen at the start of summer and encourage them to write about their favorite part of each day before bed each evening.

Play Board Games: Games like Scrabble Jr. and Boggle Jr. are an excellent way to build vocabulary and word recognition and are really fun to play. Why not pull the family together and hold a weekly board game night?

Cook With Your Children: This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions.  Let your child design the menu too!  Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.

Read Aloud: Reading aloud benefits all children and teens, especially those who struggle. One benefit is that you can read books your child can’t, so she will build listening comprehension skills with grade-level and above books. This will increase her knowledge and expand her experience with text, so that she will do better when she reads on her own.

Visit Your Local Public Library: Access to books is critical. The public library is an excellent free resource for families to have access to books of a wide range of interests and reading levels, as well as librarians to guide children and families in selecting great books.

Six = Success: Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. When choosing the six, be sure that they are just right — not too hard and not too easy. Your local librarian will be able to help select books that match your child’s age, interests, and abilities.

Stop the Summer Slide in Math: These easy-to-use, PDF activity guides from Touch Math are a great way to keep younger kids’ current in math. Another resource, from, Help Your Teen Avoid the Summer Math Slide provides plenty of age-appropriate math learning ideas for teens.

Pick Up a Book Yourself: Parents, caregivers, and other adults can help stem summer slide by reading themselves, as children that see adults in their lives reading often tend to read more themselves.