School’s out and the summer slide starts!

School’s out and the summer slide starts!

Summer slide? It's not a new game, nor something you find in a playground. It's the brain drain that happens during the holiday months when kids are out of class. Academic skills tend to slip away during the summer if students aren't actively engaged in learning.  Math, spelling, and reading skills suffer the most.

Studies have found that learning loss over the summer can be equal to as much as two months of the school year, and it adds up over the years. Recent research suggests that unequal access to summer learning opportunities helps explain the achievement gap between children from low-income and higher-income homes, and likely affects the difference in graduation rates.    

So what's the lesson here? School may be out, but learning shouldn't stop.  However, it can—and should—happen in new and different ways. Students do need a break from the classroom.  Fortunately, there are so many ways to learn, and learning can take place anytime, anywhere, and without expensive resources. The most important thing is to make sure it keeps happening.

The family and community can play a big role in making sure children stay engaged in learning during the summer.  Here are a few tips from educators.

  • Think of the “three Rs” of summer as Reading, Writing, and Running Around. Keep the learning active and fun. Remember that children learn a lot through play.
  • Help children find ways to use a variety of skills and learn new ones. Find everyday opportunities for using math and writing skills.
  • Talk to students about their interests and passions. Help them set some goals for learning something new about something they love.
  • Challenge children with projects that require creative problem-solving, working with others, setting goals and taking responsibility.
  • Make sure students have lots of opportunity to read—books of all kinds, instructions, news, recipes, lists, signs, notices and anything with letters that make words.

Summer is a good time to learn together as a family. Spend time together. Do something new together. Set aside time for family reading. Play games. Write notes to each other. Make lists. Visit your community library. Start a little free library! Grow salad greens in a bucket. Get involved in your community garden. Help elders with chores, then stay for tea and stories.

Look at the resources available for free on the NWT Literacy Council website.  Some of our useful resources include Playing and Learning: Fun games for good health, Recipes for Fun, 25 More Recipes for Fun, our Skill Builders for Youth Learning in the Kitchen resources, Storymakers, and our many how to kits.

Lots of ideas there—and everywhere. Do you have ideas for summer learning? Please share them here.

Have a great summer!

--Marianne Bromley

Updated from original post Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.