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Education Matters

Preventing the Summer Slide

April 28th, 2014

By Lisa Hansen

As the summer break is fast approaching, many parents are thinking about the family vacation, daily excursions to the zoo or to the park or pool, how to keep children engaged in activities at home, the abrupt changes to everyone's schedule and of course how to juggle everything. What they might not be focusing on is how much educational ground their children could lose during the two-month break from school, particularly when it comes to reading. This summer learning loss is what is known as the "Summer Slide" and occurs when children are idle and do not engage in educational activities over the summer.

Research suggests that many children who don’t read over the summer will often slide backward, losing up to two months of grade level equivalency in reading. This is true for math as well. According to a report from the National Summer Learning Association: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 per cent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."

This ‘summer slide’ affects millions of children each year...but it doesn’t have to. Here are a few ways to keep kids from slipping out of practice and making learning fun over the summer break.

Read Every Day

Children can pick anything to read, whether it’s a book, magazine, newspaper or a recipe. Just read. Also be sure to continue to read aloud to your child, no matter their age. The most effective way to encourage your children to love books and reading is to read aloud to them.

Visit the Library

If your child doesn't have a library card, summer is a great time to get one. Many libraries have fun, child-friendly summer reading programs in addition to the many books to read and borrow.

Keep a Summer Journal

Children can start a summer journal and write in it all summer long about anything; the activities they participated in or what they did on family vacation. It’s a great way to keep practicing those writing skills.

Summer Learning Programs

Registering children in learning programs over the summer, whether it is at a learning centre, the local library or a summer camp, is a very good solution to keeping children engaged in fun, educational activities over the summer.

Summer is a great break from school, but shouldn’t be a break from learning.

Lisa Hansen is a teacher and the owner of the Sound Connections Literacy and Language Centre.   Sound Connections specializes in literacy intervention and speech language stimulation for children starting from 3-years-old and upwards.  They use a fun, multi-sensory, play based approach, perfect for all types of learners.  For more information

Tags: education

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