The Insidious Summer Slide
07/13/2016 Published by: Amy Soupene
For many kids, summer is a time to kick back. A time to enjoy warm-weather activities, a slower daily pace, and continue learning. Wait. Back up. What? Continue Learning?! I can hear the moaning and groaning already!
As many teachers will attest, summer vacation also leads to the summer slide. A slide in their students’ knowledge and skills. Teachers know that the first several weeks of the new school year will be devoted to re-learning what students were taught the previous year. It takes a while for students to oil the mental gears and get back in the swing of things.
So instead of riding that slippery slide of lost knowledge all the way down, how about if we stop it in the middle. What if we actually climbed back up that slide? I realize this is against playground rules. But isn’t it fun when you anchor your sneakers against the sides of the slide and painstakingly work your way back up?
Summer learning offers the same challenge. No one is suggesting that our kids spend 8 hours a day in forced learning mode. But what if in between the down-times, fun and educational events were planned?
For low income youth the summer slide is more dire. This loss in academic skills has long-term effects that result in a higher drop-out rate, lower future academic achievement, even impacting college and career success.
Over the summer all students lose about two months of math skills. In the subject of reading however, there is a drastic difference. Low-income students lose two-three months of reading skills while those students from slightly higher incomes gain in reading skills. These losses add up over the years. By the time these students arrive in 5th grade, they may be as much as 2.5-3 years behind their classmates.
Academic skills aren’t the only thing that’s lost over the summer. Many low-income students receive free or reduced lunches throughout the school year. During the summer, consistent access to nutritious meals is much more difficult.
The National Summer Learning Association is committed to closing these gaps and helping all kids reach their fullest potential. The NSLA works closely with communities to create safe learning environments that serve children year-round.
To bring awareness to their mission, the NSLA supports Summer Learning Day. Communities across the nation will sponsor events and programs. Click on the interactive map to see what’s scheduled in your community. Summer Learning Day Events
Not able to attend one of the Summer Learning Day events? No worries, there are ideas right at our fingertips. Simply search online for "Summer Learning Activities". I found an interesting list of 25 Activities on Education World.
Be creative. Learning doesn’t have to be boring or feel like a punishment. Some of these activities can be so engaging that kids don’t even realize their learning! Fun and learning? That is definitely a win-win!
Best Wishes on Your Summertime Learning Adventure!
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