At the beginning of each school year many teachers spend up to six weeks reviewing material taught the previous year. This is due to a phenomenon coined as "summer slide" which describes the loss of learning that occurs over summer vacation. To lessen the effects of learning losses, encourage parent partnerships by offering ways to keep children engaged all summer long!
Parents play an enormous role in helping to prevent summer slide. There are several key things they can do to make sure children are ready to learn in the fall. Send them the link to this blog or send a note home outlining the following suggestions.
Check out the public library. Not only does the public library offer a variety of books, reference materials, and magazines for children, many also have summer reading programs. These programs aim to encourage and incentivize summer reading to help prevent summer slide. Additionally, many public libraries also plan activities to expose children to new experiences, famous authors, and cultural events.
Enroll children in a summer camp. Available at nearly every price point, summer camps are a fantastic avenue for preventing summer slide for your child. Organizations such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, local parks and recreation, zoos, or museums offer programs on a variety of topics that support summer learning.
Choose a "summer study." Having children spend the summer focused on a "summer study" of a favorite topic is a great way to encourage continued learning. Parents should give their child the freedom to choose a topic of interest; perhaps it’s ballet. Children may check out books on ballet from the library, learn about famous ballet dancers, watch ballet videos online or on DVD, or even visit a ballet studio. This “summer study” will help children become “students” of their own hobbies and interests.
Visit local parks and museums. Many local parks and museums design events especially for children to promote summer learning. Often, they also offer free or discounted admission for families to encourage everyone to visit together. Check for coupons in the mail.
Review the previous year's learning. Remind parents that their children just spent nine long months learning the previous year's material. Using the summer to review this learning will help them retain their knowledge for next year. Offer parents review materials, or summer learning workbooks for purchase. Spending a little time each week reviewing—all summer long— goes a long way in keeping children current.
Write letters. Many students have very little opportunity to write an actual letter in this current age of text messages, emails, and instant messages. At the beginning of summer vacation have your child make a letter-writing list. Every week or so children can carefully craft a hand-written letter about their summer adventures to the recipient of their choice. The ongoing writing practice is extremely beneficial.
Integrate math practice into everyday activities. Your home is teeming with opportunities to reinforce math skills. You can practice fractions in cooking, chart the summer weather and temperature, create geometrical shapes with blocks, or budget for a grocery trip.
Set reasonable limits on children's screen time. Yes, summer vacation is a chance for relaxation. But limiting children's TV viewing, gaming and online activities will help promote a healthier, happier, and more productive summer break. Parents and children can decide on reasonable limits together, to ensure that there’s still plenty of time for fun!
Preventing summer slide is one way to capitalize on the hard work you’ve done in building strong parent partnerships. Administrators should encourage all teachers to arm parents with good information before break, so that all teachers benefit from prepared students next year.
Teachers can prepare for fall, too by enrolling in the Marygrove College online Master in the Art of Teaching Program! Make the most of your teaching career, apply for free today!