Summer break is an important time to bridge knowledge from one year to the next or risk falling behind. Particularly during the young formative years, research finds that failing to participate in meaningful summer activities such as reading clubs can greatly impact the course of a student’s education. Finding fun ways to incorporate enriching educational experiences is vital to preventing the so-called summer slide.
The summer slide may sound playful. However, this term refers to a trend among students to forget the school year’s information. Sitting idle over break can have detrimental consequences. Research finds that two-thirds of the 9th grade reading gap is directly linked to limited access to educational summer programs. What’s more, students behind in reading achievement by 9th grade are significantly less likely to graduate from high school and attend college, ultimately affecting career opportunities as an adult.
Increasing and utilizing summer learning opportunities is particularly important in low-income and minority communities. The summer slide contributes to the persistent educational achievement gap between students in areas with accessible and affordable learning opportunities and students in areas that lack such programs. As we look to keep our students’ academic skills sharp, incorporating fun and educational summer activities does not have to break the bank or feel like a chore.
Aundrea’s 3 Tips for a Fun and Educational Summer
- Create a reading corner: Reading is the most fundamental way to prevent knowledge loss over the break. In fact, students who read six or more books during the summer can drastically improve their reading-comprehension abilities. In addition to regularly visiting your local library, designate an area solely for reading at home. Reading corners, as I call them, can create a comfortable area where students are free from distractions and able to breeze through summer reading lists. *Hint*: Reading corners do not just have to be for kids. My corner includes a comfy red chair, a bright lamp, magazines, hardbacks, my kindle charger, and a cozy blanket. I love it! For more ideas on how to boost your student’s reading skills over the summer, check out the Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL) Summer Reading Program, a literacy organization co-founded by The Wise Latina Club’s very own Viviana Hurtado, PhD.
- Go to camp: Through a wide range of offerings such as science camps, swimming lessons at the YMCA, band sectionals, and sports leagues, many learning opportunities exist to fit the unique needs and interests of your student. Both sleep-away camps and local day-camps provide opportunities for students to build critical-thinking skills as well as the perseverance and ingenuity needed to master new abilities.
- Take family vacations and field trips: Spending quality time with family can also incorporate educational activities during summer. Academic activities such as keeping journals and writing book reports can take on a new life when students write about exploring a museum, learning something new at a local cultural celebration, or by spending time reading on the beach. Whether in-town or out-of-town, take time to boost academic skills by getting the whole family involved.
Hours of unstructured free time may be on your child’s mind. However, for students in kindergarten all the way to adulthood, utilize vacation breaks for learning. It is imperative that parents and students alike stay involved over the summer by continuing to keep skills sharp. Staying academically active while school is out will give your child a head start towards later success in life.
An education policy wonk at the Georgia Center of Opportunity, Aundrea Gregg holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School Of Economics and a Bachelor’s in Classical Civilizations and Political Science from Howard University. She also is a nail painting enthusiast and writer living in Atlanta, GA. Connect with Aundrea on Twitter or Google+.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.How will you prevent the summer slide?