Posted June 15, 2017 – AWE Learning Staff
Summer is just around the corner, which means summer vacation and the potential of the summer slide effect for early learners is almost upon us. Summer slide refers to the loss in knowledge and skills learned when the formal learning that takes place during the school year ends. Research has shown that summer academic loss is not equal for all students; factors include grade level, subject matter, and family income.
While the summer slide is a common occurrence, there are many actions that can be taken to prevent academic loss during the summer months while school is not in session. Most importantly, choose the right books for your early learner. Selecting books that are too easy will be boring to the reader, while challenging books will cause frustration. Set reading goals and implement a reward system to offer positive reinforcement.
Public libraries and community centers are great places to visit for early learners to continue learning beyond the school year. As the community learning hub, libraries offer free book collections that include texts of all levels and genres, making it easy for early learners to find something appealing to his or her interests. Library staff are experts on matching books with early learners’ reading levels, to make sure children are reading materials appropriate to their reading level. In addition to books, libraries also offer other resources, including digital learning tools that can aid in skill reinforcement, and introduce new skills and topics.
Just because school is closed for the summer months, does not mean learning should stop. Edutopia offers some interactive and engaging ideas to continue learning throughout the summer months:
- Explore with virtual field trips
- Get creative with DIY Projects
- Read, read, read!
- Practice writing with prompts and starters
Participating in STREAM-aligned programs, and practicing literacy skills both independently and collaboratively, throughout the summer helps to prevent academic achievement loss. Studies show that learners typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they did on the same test at the beginning of the summer. By the time young learners reach middle school, those individuals who haven’t read during the summer months, may have lost as much as two years worth of academic achievement.
Keep your early learners on the path to success. Help prevent the summer slide by reading to your child, and participating in on-going literacy activities. Here is a list of suggested activities to beat the summer slide!
- Have your child read for at least 20 minutes every day.
- Spend time cooking together.
- Explore different genres and types of reading materials; such as picture books, magazines, newspapers, and more.
- Visit your local library.
- Listen to audio books in the car.
- Read aloud.
- Engage in meaningful conversations to help build vocabulary.