‘Preventing the Summer Slide’: How to Keep the Learning Going During the School Break

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Kids around the country are getting ready to say goodbye to the morning rush and evening homework. They’ve got visions of sleeping in and spending long days outside or relaxing in front of their tablet. It’s time for summer break.

This year, parents might not be as excited about their children to take a total break from academics. Let’s talk about why and what can be done to keep the learning going this summer!

Cause for Concern: The ‘Summer Slide’ and Coronavirus

For years, studies have shown that children can lose a significant amount of academic knowledge during summer break – known as the ‘Summer Slide’.

In fact, up to a staggering 27% of learning gains, or 2.6 months of knowledge gained over the school year can be lost.

This year in particular, parents are especially worried. In addition to concerns about the summer slide, their children’s education was significantly impacted last year by the Coronavirus.

School closures and the transition from in-person to virtual learning resulted in the biggest disruption to education in history. The pandemic took a toll on how much children were able to learn and retain during the 2020-2021 school year. Some even lost one-fifth of a school year worth of learning.

To prevent a snowball effect from these two events, it’s more important than ever to keep the learning going at home this summer. Here’s how!

#1: Sign up for Summer Programs

One of the best ways to help your child retain (and build on!) skills learned during the previous school year is to enroll him or her in a summer program.

Summertime learning loss often happens in the area of reading. But a study from Reading Is Fundamental showed that enrolling children in a summer enrichment program can cut some of those losses in half.

Which one is the best fit for your child? Let’s look at some of the options.

Local Summer Programs

Many summer programs have opened back up this year after pandemic-related closures in 2020. Research local summer camps on sites like the American Camp Association to see what’s available near you.

Another option? Try contacting your local school district to see if your child qualifies for any summer school programs that are offered.

During hands-on learning at summer programs, kids are often provided with differentiated instruction. That means that while doing things like science experiments and creating crafts, teachers can easily see each child’s unique level of skills and adjust their curriculum to fit their needs.

Virtual Summer Programs

Now that we’ve all gotten very comfortable doing just about anything online, check out some fun and enriching virtual summer programs available for your kids!

Register your child for the Day Camp that includes up to 12 hours per week of learning, or sign up for individual or small group classes. Outschool offers a variety of enrichment opportunities for children ages 3-18. If kids hear concepts they learned during the school year being repeated, they’re more likely to store it into their long term memory.

With classes for children ages 4-10 on everything from STEM science experiments with volcanoes to unicorn crafting, you’ll be sure to find something that your child loves!

Sign up your little (virtual) camper for free and he and she can take part in a variety of fun STEM and literacy-building activities.

Activities like these encourage children to use problem solving skills and apply concepts they’ve learned in school to real-life situations so their skills stay sharp.

#2: Take up Teletherapy

If you’ve been meaning to look into speech therapy because of concerns with your child’s articulation, language skills, or other areas of communication, summer is a great time to get your child started.

Teletherapy is an effective, convenient option. Virtual speech therapy also allows kids who may receive services during the school year to maintain their progress over the summer!

TherapyWorks provides pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapies with licensed professionals that can evaluate your child and, if indicated, provide assistance through teletherapy. TherapyWorks also provides in-person services in certain locations.

#3: Keep Reading

Replace remote controls with reading books.

Encourage your child to read every day. Even if it’s the recipe for a favorite meal he or she can help you cook, or researching their favorite rainforest animal online!

Make reading a fun summertime activity by keeping it a part of your child’s bedtime routine and letting him or her choose the story. Take trips to the library to browse whatever peaks your child’s interest.

Consider helping your child start a book club with friends or family, where he or she has fun socializing and talking about a monthly book with others. According to Scholastic, reading 6 books over the summer can help with your child’s literacy skills when they return to school in the fall!

#4: Get the Kids Moving!

Did you know turning off the TV and getting your child outdoors more can improve their academic performance?

Staying active can result in thinner gray matter in your child’s brain, which has been linked to higher math skills!

Taking a dance class, learning tennis, or taking more family trips outdoors gives your child physical activity that can also improve behavior.

Prepare for the New School Year

On top of using these tips to help your child’s academic skills stay strong over the summer, you can help prepare your child for the next school year by having discussions about it.

Some children may be returning to in-person instruction after a year of virtual learning. Even those who attended school may see that their classrooms have grown after many more kids come back.

Summer can be a great time to get your child some extra help. If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language, or motor skills, consider consulting an expert through TherapyWorks!

Therapyworks Erin Michelle

Are you interested in services for your child? Founded by Michelle Worth and Erin Vollmer, TherapyWorks provides in-home speech, occupational and physical therapies in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois and teletherapy nationwide.

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