We’ve all heard about the summer slide – the idea that children forget what they learned during the school year over summer break.
But how can you prevent it, and should you really be all that worried about it?
What is the “Summer Slide”?
The “summer slide” refers to the idea that many children, especially students from poor families and those who struggle in reading, can regress during summer vacation and forget some of what they’ve learned.
Luckily, research suggests that avoiding the summer slide is simple:
1. Visit the library regularly and let them choose their books.
Exposing children to a wide variety of options and soliciting their input will keep content fresh and interesting.
2. Read six books.
Research shows that reading just six books over the summer (at the appropriate reading level) can keep students on track.
3. Read something every day together.
Read a recipe together. Read comics and memes. Snuggle up for a bedtime story (and even better, have your child read aloud to you). Even if it’s not a full-stop novel, reading here and there helps keeps kids on their toes.
4. Use phonics apps made for kids.
5. Invest in affordable workbooks
There are plenty of grade level workbooks and flashcards that can keep kids engaged over the summer. Check Amazon or Barnes & Noble to start your search.
Should you really worry all that much?
Some psychologists argue that if children really regress that much, did they ever really learn the information? Won’t they eventually leave school, and what happens then? Should we stay in school our entire lives, then?
Dr. Peter Gray of Psychology Today points out that not all important learning happens in school or can be measured on tests. To him, summertime is an immersion in real life and real decision making, when kids DO things as opposed to MEMORIZE things.
Dr. Gray also suggests that much of what we call the summer slide is actually a myth. He points to research that is at best inconclusive, and in some cases actually shows improved mathematical reasoning skills over the summer.
What do you think? Are you worried about the summer slide? What do you do avoid it?