10 Ways to Fight the Summer Slide and Keep Skills Sharp, Part I

by Kristen Thompson

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Teachers routinely get a shock when they return to their classrooms in the fall and see the first test scores of their new students. The initial reaction is generally, “What in the world did they do last year?”

In reality, it’s not what they spent the previous year doing – it’s what they spent the summer not doing: exercising their brains. It’s a phenomenon so well known it’s often called “the summer slide.”

During the summer, kids lose an average 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in math computation skills and 25 percent of their reading skills. That explains why teachers usually spend four to six weeks re-teaching materials in the fall.

So what’s a parent to do?

In this article, we’ll share five ways to fight back against the summer slide. Later this week, we’ll share five more practical tips.

Five Easy Ideas: 

  1. Create a Brainy Toybox. Make a rainy day toybox so kids don’t end up watching TV all day. It can consist of age-appropriate puzzles, Playdoh, circle-the-word booklets, art supplies, craft ideas, board games, playing cards, etc.
  2. Print Brainteasers. Bookmark or print out brainteasers from sites like the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Sites like www.Funbrain.com offer entertaining material on spelling, reading, math and grammar, and http://www.GamesForTheBrain.com has classic strategy games.
  3. Stock the Seats with Car Games. Buy or create a book of games you can play in the car. Even a simple game like “20 Questions” can help improve a child’s logic and reasoning and memory. For more travel game ideas, check out www.schoolbox.com.
  4. Unplug. Limit television, computer and video game time. Invite your child’s friends over frequently to encourage creative play and interaction.
  5. Reward Reading. Have your child create a reward system for the number and level of books he/she reads over the summer. Hang a reward chart somewhere prominent, like on your child’s bedroom wall or the refrigerator, and let your child add a sticker every time they finish a book or chapter. After a certain number of stickers are earned, a tangible reward may be in order…maybe a new book??
Start with those five easy, fun ideas to help bridge the learning gap between May and August. We’ll share five more ideas in Part II of this series.

Kristen Thompson is a parent, former teacher, and also the director atLearningRx Kennesaw, a center that specializes in helping learners of all ages and stages reach their full potential. LearningRx is located at 3420 Acworth Due West Road, Suite B, Kennesaw, GA 30144. 


Filed under Academic Success, Home Schooling, Parenting, Reading, Summer Learning

5 responses to “10 Ways to Fight the Summer Slide and Keep Skills Sharp, Part I

  1. Deanne Alton

    Thank-you so much–I will pass on the word to my parents and others at the school I teach.

  2. Pingback: 10 Ways to Fight the Summer Slide, Part II | A Learning Experience

  3. I bought a huge “Mad Libs” book at the School Box the other day (for a fantastic price, by the way). It’s a great way to get conversation going during meal time, and keep the kids learning. It helps review what nouns/adjectives/verbs/adverbs and plurals are, and helps stimulate creativity too.

  4. Jennifer

    I provided my students with a summer reading list for them so they would have books they like to read. I based the list off of books we have read through the year so they know they will be of similar interest and things they like.

  5. Pingback: Stopping the “Summer Slide” » Summer Tutoring