7 Easy Ways to Prevent Summer Slide
Sadly, summer slide isn’t referring to sliding into the pool or sliding on the playground at the park. Summer slide is the reality that 10 weeks out of a school environment can cause students to slide back in their educational growth. Although research can vary, students can lose anywhere from 1 month of school growth to 25% of the years knowledge during the 10 weeks of summer break*. Allowing students to relax and be carefree is definitely a necessity but stopping summer slide can be just as important.
Summer activities to prevent slide don’t have to be boring. Here are 7 ideas.
1. Summer Reading Fun
Let’s make reading in the summer fun. Fun doesn’t have to be complicated, but fun can be novel. Can we take a blanket to the yard and read outside? Can we build a tent and read inside? Can we build a fort with sheets and read with a flashlight? Likewise, summer vacations can lend themselves to reading. If you are visiting a zoo, have kids read an animal book first. If you are visiting a new state, read a book set in that state or about the important state facts.
2. Cook Up Some Summer Reading
Why not read a cookbook in addition to the other more traditional books? Let kids look in cookbooks or online to find a recipe that looks delicious. Then they copy the ingredients on a shopping list and plan a time to go to the store. Reading the recipe and working step-by-step with an adult to make the recipe reinforces both reading and math skills—and has a yummy outcome. Kids can even write a review of the recipe to post online or in their journals.
3. Find a Pen Pal
Finding an authentic reason to write in the summer can be a challenge. Have kids choose a friend or relative (or two) who lives far away or who they don’t normally see often during the summer months. Spend time writing letters/drawings to send back and forth. This reinforces writing and can build excitement waiting for a return letter. Who doesn’t like getting something special in the mail!?!
4. Keep a Photo Journal
Creating a journal can keep students engaged in writing and reading this summer. Journals can be created on paper or online. Each week during the summer have kids choose a picture from their phone (or their parents’ phone) and write about it. Where were they? What were they doing? How did they feel? Would they recommend someone else do this? At the end of the summer, they have a 10-page book.
5. Play a “Bored” Game
“I’m bored” is heard way to often in the summer. When you hear, “I’m bored” have kids get a board game! Board games are a great way to get in summer practice and kids don’t even know they are learning. A board game favorite in our house was SORRY! This game requires reading, communication, critical thinking, and counting.
6. Find Reading Challenges
Reading challenges are everywhere in the summer. Public libraries, local YMCAs, and books stores, are among the many organizations that have summer reading challenges. Most of the challenges have a goal and a reward.
7. Make a Lemonade Stand
Creating a lemonade (or cookie or popsicle or whatever) stand is lots of fun and is a sneaky way to reinforce math concepts. Kids need to figure out how much to charge to make a profit from the purchase of supplies, make change, count their total money earned, and so much more! They can even work on giving back by choosing a charity to donate a percentage of their profits to.
With a little creativity, incorporating reading, writing, and math into summer activities can be fun and easy—and it will have huge payoffs when school starts in the fall.
Smith, L. (2012). Slowing the summer slide. Educational Leadership, 69(4), 60-63. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec11/vol69/num04/Slowing-the-Summer-Slide.aspx
Mraz, M. and Rasinski, T.V. (2007). Summer reading loss. The Reading Teacher, 60(8), 784-789. http://www.readingrockets.org/article/summer-reading-loss