8 Tips for Preventing A Summer Slump
By Brit Landis, UO School Psychology Practicum Student
Have you heard of the terms summer loss or summer slump? Both refer to the fact that over the summer many of our children lose one to three months of what they learned at school. When this happens, students can struggle to learn new skills in the fall.
Fortunately, there many simple things you can do to prevent summer slump!
- Create a daily reading routine.
Daily reading helps build reading skills and a whole lot more, including general knowledge and other academic skills. Find books that are motivating and interesting to your children based on their interests.
- The Eugene Library (https://www.eugene-or.gov/130/Eugene-Public-Library) is a great place to get free books (and access other free online learning resources, and fun events). Librarians can also help you pick out books that are good for your child’s current reading level.
- This site has free decodable stories that you can use based on the sounds your child knows. http://www.freereading.net/wiki/Decodable_passages.html
- Try out these summer book lists, for ages 0-12 (http://www.readingrockets.org/books/summer/2018) and get the books from the library!
- Ready, set, read it again!
- Help your children read the same text more than once in the same day, so they can read it more fluently the second, third, fourth, and fifth time. Make it fun by picking text that is short, interesting, and at a comfortable level for your child.
- Beat your score! Once your child can read most words in the story successfully, challenge them to read it again and more fluently! It can be very motivating for kids to watch their reading improve. This website gives some tips about what this process can look like http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/timed_repeated_readings, but make sure your routine works for you and your family.
- Get into audiobooks.
- Listening to audio books can be easy and accessible for learners of all reading abilities. You can even put them on in the car. Check out these audio books from the Eugene library http://eugene.libguides.com/kidsbooks/audiobooks.
- Have fun with these reading games and activities.
- Pick some of these reading activities and games that target essential reading skills, such as phonics, vocabulary, and fluency. http://cmcereads.webs.com/fcrrliteracygames.htm
- Reading aloud together and asking questions while reading has shown to make a big impact on students’ reading skills. Check out this website for great tips on reading aloud: http://www.readingrockets.org/reading-topics/reading-aloud
- Do it the fast way with math facts fluency.
Don’t forget about math! Research has shown that students actually experience more math loss than reading loss over the summer, but you can help prevent this by incorporating more math into your summer days.
- Practice math facts! A lot of kids enjoy being timed and watching themselves get better and faster. Plus, helping your children become fast with math facts will help them solve more complicated problems with more confidence and accuracy. This free online program is great for practice all summer long, and you can see their growth! You can also make flashcards, or print worksheets from many sites, like www.mathfactcafe.com.
- Do math at the store (and in the kitchen, and on the field, and everywhere!)
- Notice the math you do in every-day activities and involve your kids. For example, calculate your change together when shopping, double your recipe together when cooking, talk about dividing pizza or candy into equal parts, or calculate how many more points your team needs to tie a game.
- Read short math stories together.
- Try out reading short math stories with your family. Research has shown that reading math stories to children can help improve their math scores at school. Try the free app from Bedtime Math books, other activities on their site, or the book “Family Math,” which has math activities to do together.
- Attend the Kahn Academy (it’s free and online!)
- “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Review and practice the math skills your child learned this year with the free Kahn Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/resources/parents-mentors-1). This website has great videos for you to help your kids to math over the summer. Try searching by grade level to see what to help your children with, or ask your teacher to help you pick skills to work on.
Want more ideas?
There are a lot more tips where that came from! Poke around these websites –they have lots of great information and tips for reading, writing, and math. Remember, you don’t have to do them all. Pick one or a few that work for you and your family!
- Summer reading strategies for children with reading difficulties: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/strategies-summer-reading-children-dyslexia
- Parent Resource Center on the National Center on Improving Literacy: https://improvingliteracy.org/family
- Research-based interventions for math and reading. http://www.interventioncentral.org/response-to-intervention
- Summer resources, including camps, for families with children with disabilities: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/551b1a7be4b0b4693e013416/t/5af380a2352f5356a6f06f54/1525907621912/Summer+Directory+2018.pdf
If you’re curious to learn more about the research behind summer loss and how to prevent it, check out this webcast: http://www.readingrockets.org/webcasts/3002.
Berkowitz, T., Schaeffer, M., Maloney, E., Peterson, L., Gregor, C., Levine, S., & Beilock, S. (2015). Math at home adds up to achievement in school. Science (New York, N.Y.),350(6257), 196-8.
Blanton, Morgan V. (2015) “Keys to Reducing Summer Regression: The Reader, Routine, and Relationship,” Journal of Organizational & Educational Leadership: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 2. Available at: http://digitalcommons.gardner-webb.edu/joel/vol1/iss1/2
Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996). The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and Meta-Analytic Review. Review of Educational Research, 66(3), 227-268. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523
Kim, J., & Quinn, D. (2013). The Effects of Summer Reading on Low-Income Children’s Literacy Achievement From Kindergarten to Grade 8: A Meta-Analysis of Classroom and Home Interventions. Review of Educational Research, 83(3), 386-431. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.uoregon.edu/stable/24434164
Shafer, L. (2016, June 24). Summer Math Loss. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/06/summer-math-loss
Sullivan, A., & Brown, M. (2013). Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading. CLS Working Papers, 2013(13/10).
The Summer Slump: Do Kids Backslide During Summer Vacation? (2017, July 24). Retrieved May 30, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evidence-based-living/201707/the-summer-slump-do-kids-backslide-during-summer-vacation