Communities In Schools of the Tecumseh Area, Mich. is teaching kids a life skill this summer by leading a bike safety program.
While it can drive parents crazy to have their kids home all day, students love summer break. No getting up early to catch the bus, no homework and no sitting in a classroom all day. Summer break means freedom from academic responsibility and lots of fun.
Unfortunately, all that time away from the classroom tends to have a negative impact on students once school starts up again in the fall. Known to teachers as the “summer slide,” students tend to forget a lot of what they learned while they’re away from school for so long. Instead of learning new material when they return to school in the fall, many students end up needing to spend the first few weeks of the school year reviewing and having to catch up. Studies from The Johns Hopkins Center for Summer Learning reveal that the average student falls two months behind in their reading skills during the long break.
The summer slide is a major contributing factor to the achievement gap affecting students living in poverty. According to The Johns Hopkins Center, students who live below the poverty line have less access to summer educational opportunities, and are therefore more likely to forget even more information than their more affluent peers.
Fortunately, there are ways we can all keep students learning over the summer. Across the Communities In Schools network, many of our affiliates offer programs that are both educational and take advantage of the fun this sunny season can offer. Whether it’s summer camp, kayaking trips, tending a community garden, swimming lessons or visits to college campuses, we make sure that our students are learning valuable life skills that they will need to succeed in school and in life.
If you’re looking for a way to prevent the summer slide and make sure your child keeps learning, organizations like Scholastic and The Southern Poverty Law Center offer some great free and low-cost ideas. Take advantage of your student’s open schedule to go to the zoo, museums or on a nature hike. Even something as simple as cooking together offers a great opportunity for a child to learn science, analytical reading and math!
Summer is a great time for students to read books that interest them without the stress of grades, testing and deadlines. Anindita Basu Sempere, executive director of TheWritingFaculty.com, advises parents, guardians and mentors to encourage children to take advantage of not having homework and foster a love of reading. She recently shared some tips on preventing the summer slide with The Washington Post.
For even more great ideas, we built a Pinterest board full of games and activities that promote summer engagement (including some great ones for rainy days). Feel free to repin them and share with friends!
For children, summer is supposed to be fun and carefree. But that doesn’t mean that learning needs to stop. By putting the brakes on the summer slide, we can start to close the achievement gap and make sure that every student starts school in the fall ready and excited to learn new material.