Children's Development

Preventing Summer Slide

Summer is finally here! For many children that means time off and a more relaxed schedule. Enjoying the longer days and a slower paced routine are the culminating reward for a hard-working school year.

Parents and educators often worry that 2 months of down time in summer can lead to learning loss. This dreaded “summer slide” is a decrease in academic skills, especially in the areas of math and reading. Younger children, preschool aged through 1st grade, seem to be most vulnerable because of vast leaps in learning during the early years of education.

Teachers often spend time in the fall reteaching skills to get students back up to speed, but what can be done to prevent academic losses in the first place? There are simple and fun things you can do to prevent summer slide by incorporating reading and practicing math skills into each day.

Here are 5 easy ways to help mitigate summer slide:

1. Read, read, read

Visit Local libraries and participate in their summer reading programs. Many have reading goals and great prizes to encourage young readers. Let kids pick books in their areas of interest. Search for books in their reading level “sweet spot” that provide a slight challenge. Ask librarians for suggestions of book series that are trending for little readers.

2. Take it outside

Learning outdoors is a summer treat. Read outside or play outdoor school. Gardening and planting provide ample opportunities to practice reading and measurement. Complete a nature walk scavenger hunt with kid created scavenger cards.

3. Pick a theme

Create a thematic unit for the summer. Read books about an area of interest, build a model out of repurposed items, and go on a “field trip” to culminate the unit. Example units: Camping, Sharks, Pirates.

4. Exercise your mind

Play educational games, puzzles, Sudoku, and Rubik’s Cubes. Keep the mind moving with activities that incorporate mathematical thinking. Set out board games that require reading and counting. Bring out the piggy bank and have kids count change for a trip to the store.

5. Keep a summer journal

Try to write every day. Journal about the day’s events or look up silly writing prompts. Set a summer goal with a reward at the end!

Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.