Educators who know that a two-month break from school often leads to a loss in learning known as the “summer slide” are now trying counteract what is being called the “COVID slide.”
While on summer break, kids commonly lose some of the learning momentum from the previous school year. It’s a phenomenon casually referred to as the “summer slide.”
A 2015 report from the Northwest Evaluation Association that in the summer following third grade students lost about 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent in math, on average, during summer break.
“Just like there’s muscle memory for tennis or musical instruments, there’s muscle memory for certain academic skills as well,” educator Trish Van Buskirk told CBS 11 News in 2018.
And the “summer slide” only increases with age, the report said. By the summer after seventh grade, students lose on average 36 percent of their school-year gains in reading and a whopping 50 percent of their school-year gains in math.
School's not out for summer: El Paso districts continue learning activities to combat 'COVID slide' https://t.co/V54XWHnboi
— El Paso Times (@elpasotimes) May 29, 2020
And after such an abrupt end to formal curriculum due to the pandemic, educators worry the slide could be even steeper this year for kids in the fall.
But experts say it doesn’t have to be. They say due to varying degrees of lockdown measures, families will probably have more free time this summer to build in time for educational activities.
To avoid the summer slide, they urge parents to come up with a plan. Sit down with your kids and come up with goals such as reading X number of books and working on multiplication tables.
And parents are urged to think out of the box. For example, encourage your kids rewrite a book into a play. Cook something inspired by a book. Or read math-focused stories. And then discuss the books with your kids to extend the learning.
“If the parents are excited, most of the kids will be excited about it,” said Van Buskirk, who said these projects only need to take up 30-60 minutes per day.
Here are some of the many online tools and resources for parents:
- http://www.vocabulary.com – Compiles vocabulary words from books and movies.
- http://www.dailyteachingtools.com – Unique writing prompts.
- http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com – Free math worksheets.
- http://www.tlsbooks.com – Free worksheets for all subjects.
- http://www.whatdowedoallday.com – Ideas for off-screen activities.
- http://www.mystorybook.com – Helps kids write their own stories by letting them “publish” with pictures.
- http://www.getepic.com – Unlimited books to read. First month is free, then $7.99/month. Consider this for the summer months if you do not have time to go to the library.