Most kids return to school at the end of the summer having lost an average of a month’s worth of school-year learning in a phenomenon known as the “summer slide.” The summer slide is real, and this year it’s even worse – as a result of pandemic learning loss, too many children already are finishing the year behind where they have in pre-pandemic years, and far behind where they should be.
Even though we all desperately need a summer break, it’s more important than ever to create more balance during these three months. As little as 30 minutes a day can make a world of difference for you and your kids. It’s totally doable and can worked within your summer schedule!
Let me tell you how.
Handling Summer Slide Learning Loss
1. Establish a Routine
Kids like structure. They thrive with a plan. Building in a consistent block of time for your child to dedicate some brainpower to reading, writing, or math should lead to less resistance. Even better if they tackle that work in the same place each day, in a spot where they can sit comfortably with minimal distraction.
If kids know that they’ll have hours of seemingly endless play, but at 4:30 they have to practice math or read their book — or that they have the entire day ahead of themselves once they finish 30 minutes of writing after breakfast — that time for learning simply becomes a part of their routine. Consistency is key.
2. Make Learning Fun!
Gone are the days when flashcards and workbooks were the only options for parents. With a seemingly endless array of online tools and incredible apps, kids can learn and play at the same time. And because it’s also good to take learning offline too, summer is a great opportunity for kids to dive into a new book series, write to a pen pal, or play a game like Guess Who or Battle Ship to practice strategic thinking.
If you’d like some more individualized and targeted learning, certified teacher/tutors can help. They have the training and expertise to spark the sort of a-ha moments that will help kids return to school with endless confidence. No matter the resource, the goal is to engage kids with fun activities that keep them using the skills they worked so hard to gain in school!
3. Celebrate Their Hard Work
We all know that kids aren’t going to want to do anything that resembles school this summer. Creating consistent, structured time to engage in enjoyable learning activities will reduce resistance, but positive reinforcement is essential, too.
By recognizing and celebrating their effort, kids will feel more rewarded and encouraged to keep it up. Sometimes a high five will do the trick, but don’t be afraid to resort to a bit of bribery if that’s what it takes!
This summer, it’s more important than ever for kids to maintain all the learning gains they’ve achieved this year. The best way to avoid the summer slide learning loss that typically occurs over the vacation is to create fun, meaningful opportunities for children to practice the reading, writing, and math skills they learned in school, and then celebrate their hard work.
I know – easier said than done. But we all can make learning magic happen for our kids this summer!
About the Author
Mara Koffmann is co-founder of Braintrust Tutors, an educational platform that matches students with certified teachers and learning specialists for private tutoring. With experience as a classroom teacher at the Parkside School and as a learning specialist and director of the elementary literacy program at the Marymount School of New York, Mara started her first business, Smarten Up in 2011. After growing to more than 60 tutors and working with thousands of students, she created Braintrust in order to build a better tutoring solution for families and teachers alike.