When most people hear the term summer slide, their heads probably fill with images of water parks or lazy days at the playground. The term conjures up far more stressful images if you’re a teacher or a parent. To parents and teachers, the summer slide refers to the “backslide” in a student’s retained knowledge and abilities over the summer. This often happens when students stop receiving constant practice with their academic skills. This post will explain why students should practice academics over the summer, how to develop a well-rounded plan, and will also provide you with a HUGE LIST OF EASY WAYS TO AVOID THE SUMMER SLIDE!
SHOULD CHILDREN PRACTICE ACADEMICS IN THE SUMMER?
This year more than most has raised concerns about children making academic progress. A great many students across the country (and the world) found themselves learning remotely, missing days of education for various closures and crises, or trying to navigate the world of asynchronous learning. These factors have already put some students on a slippery slope.
Will summer send them down that slide?
A study published by American Education Research Journal showed that of their pool of students (studied for five summers), 52% of students lost an average of 39% of their total yearly gains during the summer months. Another 2016 study by Atteberry and McEachin showed that learning loss was impacted by socioeconomic and minority status, but that overall, many children lose about a month’s worth of learning, while some lose much more. So yes, the summer slide is a big deal, and likely to impact at least some of your students. Don’t panic, because you can do something about it!
The cure for the summer slide is meaningful practice for two to three hours a day. Research shows that students who do this are able to retain more and prevent learning loss. Many adults may think about utilizing summer reading lists and summer reading projects and believe they are all set. These are an excellent start, but don’t let that be the end of your summer slide prevention plan!
DEVELOP A WELL-ROUNDED PLAN!
Schools and public libraries around the country offer summer reading and math initiatives. Some schools even have book vans that come to your neighborhood! Don’t hesitate to use these resources. Many times, they’ve done the homework for you! However, perhaps you want your strategy to avoid the summer slide to be more personalized, interactive, or would even like to create a fun challenge to go with it. Kids may feel disinterested about learning over the summer, but they love the intrinsic feeling of small victories, especially if they are rewarded in some extrinsic way! Start by setting a goal or goals for the summer.
WHAT ARE EASY WAYS TO AVOID THE SUMMER SLIDE?
Add a review! An end-of-year review or a summer practice packet is the perfect way to kick off a rockin’ Summer.
These new no-prep packets are filled with standard-based activities and high-interest passages perfect for test prep or summer practice to prevent students from going down the Summer Slide! Now available for 3rd and 5th grades with more grade levels coming soon.
Keep reading to check out more ideas and resources below to help your student avoid the summer slide!
1. CHOICE BOARDS
Try choice boards that involve reading a variety of genres. Choice empowers children and helps them take ownership of their learning. It is just like a bingo card. Once they get a full row going across, down, or diagonal, they win a prize! These reader choice boards come in a ten pack. If reading picture books, you can use one for each week. If reading novels or a combination of novels and picture books, decide how many you want to do for summer reading ahead of time.
2. SCAVENGER HUNTS
For the scavenger hunt, students have many choices (it is editable if you want to change it). Read in a tent, read to a neighbor, read out loud like you are a pirate, etc. Allow them to work on it throughout the summer and check off the items they completed. Then offer different awards for the categories of gold, silver, and bronze! They will love the challenge!
Discover more with this resource:
3. READING RESPONSE
In addition to children reading and tracking their minutes, it is important for them to engage with the text in some way. Each week, wherever they are in their reading, they should respond to what they’ve read that week. Use the main reading skills like summarizing, story elements, point of view, connections, character traits, vocabulary, etc. as a guide to their responses. This WEEKLY READING LOG has all of that done for you. It not only tracks the minutes spent reading, but it has a space for students to respond to the text using the main reading skills. There are 9 weeks of pages responding to both fiction and nonfiction texts to get them through a summer of reading!
You can check out this resource here:
4. BOOK REPORTS
Another way to encourage children to respond to text is with book reports. Book reports will help students develop a deeper understanding of the text and is an excellent way to get your kiddos engaged in their reading. You can get creative with Paper Bag Book Reports, Mystery Pizza Reports, or Cereal Box Biographies. In the resource, BOOK REPORTS THAT MOTIVATE, you will find those creative book reports along with more! It also covers a variety of genres and offers ones for different levels of learning. There is something for everyone! Assign one book report every two to three weeks or as they finish a book!
You can check out this resource here:
5. REVIEWING THE READING STANDARDS
One way to make sure your children have a solid foundation of all of the standards for their grade level is to do a review of the standards. This can be done with our READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGES. First, find out each child’s reading level. This will determine the correct passage to give them. They are available for Grades 2-5. Within each packet, there are three levels of high-interest differentiated passages for every text. The children read at their own level and answer questions to go along with each standard. There are step-by-step questions to help students understand the text and the standard. And yes, there is an answer key for you!
Learn more about these comprehension passages in this blog post:
6. GREEK AND LATIN ROOTS AND AFFIXES
Vocabulary is an essential tool for reading. When students learn a variety of words, they better understand what they are reading. One surefire way to help children learn about words is through Greek and Latin roots and affixes. When students understand roots and affixes, they will be able to break down difficult words and comprehend what they are reading! In this GREEK AND LATIN UNIT STUDY, there is everything you need to learn a large list of words in a small amount of time. There are visuals in the posters to help students make those well-needed connections! You can try one for FREE, get 10 units, or get all 20 units.
Learn more about this resource in this blog post:
Writing is such an important skill needed for all subjects. Whether your children have to write an essay, a book report, a research report in science, a summary of events in Social Studies, or explain a word problem in math, good writing skills are crucial! Although I offer a multitude of writing resources, if you simply review basic sentence structure, paragraph writing, and one type of essay writing as a blueprint of the writing process, you are giving your children valuable lifelong strategies!
This series of blog posts will help:
1. SENTENCE STRUCTURE AND PARAGRAPH WRITING INSTRUCTION
Children need to understand basic sentence structure and paragraph writing for writing responses in all subjects. Make sure they are ready for next school year with these resources.
2. GUIDED PARAGRAPH PROMPTS
Practice, practice, practice! What better way to practice paragraphs than to use guided prompts! This resource offers prompts with guided instruction for children to be successful. It is ready to go!
3. ESSAY WRITING INSTRUCTION
Choose your child’s favorite type of writing to review the writing process within an essay! You will find anchor charts, mentor text, modeling, practice, and graphic organizers for students to apply their writing.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ALL THE WRITING PROGRAM RESOURCES IN THIS BLOG POST:
WRITING PROGRAM For Grades 1-8
INSTRUCTIVE VIDEOS For Students
4. SUMMER WRITING PROMPTS
Is your student strapped in terms of what to write about? These prompts come from our monthly writing prompts and are designed specifically for the summer months of June, July, and August. It has prompts for 6 genres—Narrative, Descriptive, Opinion, Persuasive, Informative, How-To.
More and more schools include Summer Math packets as well as Summer Reading assignments. There’s a reason for this. Students need to keep all of their skills sharp because they can all regress. For one thing, different subjects are processed in different areas of the brain. Research shows that our brain geography can be changed by our actions, just like our bodies can be changed by our diet and exercise routines. Imagine if you ONLY did bicep curls with one arm. While one arm would begin to look toned and muscular, the other would stay weak and undefined. The same can be said of only asking students to read over the summer without adding writing, math, science, and social studies components. Below you will find 40 problem-solving questions. There are 10 questions for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Each set of questions start simple and get more difficult.
SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCE
To incorporate social studies and science, encourage your readers to read historical fiction, biographies of historical figures, and nonfiction books about important historical events. For science, encourage reading about scientific topics in both nonfiction and realistic fiction. After reading about topics and themes that evoke questions from your student, help them complete scientific inquiry projects and research about the topics that spark their curiosity.
LOSE IT OR USE IT
As you can see, there are multiple reasons why you need to prevent the Summer Slide, and there are multiple subjects that should be included in your plan. There are so many ways that you can incorporate various subjects and content areas into your summer assignments that will both meet your students’ needs and keep them entertained. The work doesn’t have to be arduous, but it does need to encompass a variety of skills in order to ensure that your students don’t lose them. The idea of “lose it or use it” is especially true in the summer! But of course, summer is the time when teachers and parents want some relaxation as well. You don’t have to spend hours researching resources that will provide a well-rounded program—we’ve done all the work for you! Try out a free summer packet and other resources mentioned above. Your student will be ready to shine in their classrooms next year!