ALBANY, N.Y. July 09, 2018 — Losing academic ground during the summer months can be a problem for many students, but it doesn’t have to be. New York State United Teachers has developed a list of suggestions to help students avoid the “summer slide” and maintain their academic edge.
“Elementary students can lose up to a month of academic progress in the summer, and that loss can be even greater for students from low-income families,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango. “But helping students hang onto the skills they’ve developed over the past academic year doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.”
Many public libraries, local parks and community groups offer summer programs for students, and even simple errands can be opportunities to practice counting, colors and shapes for younger children. Museum passes for free admission can be borrowed at many local libraries.
If you’re planning a family trip, an easy way to help your child flex their academic muscles is to “research the history of your destination, visit local landmarks and sample local cuisine,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “By thinking out of the box, it’s easy to turn a day at the beach into a fun learning experience.”
A 2007 Johns Hopkins University study of Baltimore students found that, despite performing well over the school year, low-income children lose ground over the summer due to a lack of learning opportunities. Declining reading skills, in particular, can have far-reaching, negative consequences. A 2011 study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation notes that one-in-six children who don’t read proficiently by third grade fail to graduate on time from high school, a rate four times higher than proficient readers.
To help students avoid the “summer slide,” follow these tips:
- Summer programs
Many public and private schools run summer student programs.
- Family reading programs
Consult with your child’s teacher or librarian to develop a summer reading program with your child. Agree upon a set number of grade-level books to read and get the entire family involved.
- Specialized summer camps
From computer to science to math camps, specialized summer camps are fun, academically enriching ways to keep your child engaged.
- Ask a teacher
Consult your child’s current or next teacher for suggestions for summer workbooks, science activities, essay topics and summer learning ideas.
- Summer enrichment
If your child could use some extra help in a particular subject, consult with their teacher about local enrichment programs.
- Summer journaling
Have your child keep a daily journal. Monitor their efforts to help them stay on track.
- Turn daily activities into learning opportunities
Turn visits to the grocery story into math lessons, or a drive to grandmother’s house into a geography game.
- Learn locally
Explore local parks, museums, libraries and aquariums.
- Learn while vacationing
Research your destination’s history and cuisine, and tour local landmarks.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.