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Avoid the Summer Slide: Facts and Tips for Busy Mamas

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

DISCLOSURE: This information is not meant to be ALL encompassing and should NOT replace seeking advice from your health care provider for specific, questions, solutions, and concerns about your health! The purpose is to spark curiosity and gain some insight into your health.

What is the summer learning loss slide? This is the name given to the education lost or learning setback that occurs during the summer months. Studies have shown if you test students of all grades at the end of the summer and comp

Image: National Summer Learning Association

are it to testing at the end of the school year, 2/3 to nearly 100% of children showed a significant loss of academic learning. The academic Summer SLIDE is preventable, and studies show that just 2-3 hours a week of active learning can help prevent starting a new school year “behind.”


What are the FACTS:

  1. One month of learning is lost after summer vacation

  2. 2 months of reading and almost 3 months of math

  3. It can take up to 6 weeks to gain those skills lost over the summer.

  4. <10% of children are enrolled in a learning activity over the summer.

  5. Children with low socio-economic circumstances are mostly affected by the “summer slide.”

  6. <50% of parents know what “summer slide” or “summer learn loss” are.


Some tips for parents to help keep your kids’ skills sharp over the summer:

  • The modern-day book report with a twist: Discuss the books you have picked at the library, have your kids act out the book, dress as their favorite character, write a different ending to the story, or create a unique experience centered on the book.

  • Incorporating Math into daily summer activities: Math is often the largest “summer slide” and I think the most challenging to incorporate. Incorporate math while cooking with your children, teach them how to split recipes in half or into 1/3s. Split the grocery shopping list with your children and see who can guess the total amount. Find interesting things to make into graphs or charts as an art project. This can be done with questions like: How many days this month did it rain? Chart the temperature of the week OR create a summer count down. Check out this blog for some fun and creative math games. You can also click here to purchase some fun math games over the summer:

  • Family Game Night: This is one of my favorite ways to turn summer months into fun learning experiences! Pick a designated night where the kids can stay up a little later and play games for the entire family. A few good educational games; Pictionary, scrabble, word scrambles, trivial pursuit for teenagers.

  • Summer Journal: Have your children create a journal that they can draw in, incorporate photos, write weekly wraps up, and create a fun and unique diary of their summer. Make sure to include superlatives favorite activity/favorite food/favorite family memory, etc.

  • Tackle that Summer Homework Early: Many schools give homework or will give parents insight into the upcoming curriculum. Carve out a specific time each week that your children know its “official homework time.” Avoid the last-minute scramble to complete assignments. Buy their books early and review them with your children.

  • Summer passports: This is one of my fondest memories as a child and was started by my 5th-grade teacher. Pick a theme for each month of the summer and then immerse the family in that theme. Create passport books for each child and at the beginning and then end of the month stamp their books. Learn about the food, culture, type of money, a few of the words in the language, cook a few recipes from that country each week.

  • Educational Activities: Turn your vacation, trips outdoors, day trips into a fun academic learning opportunities. Create a puzzle, treasure hunt, or “read up” on places you go with your children before you go to them. For example, many local parks have great historical stories you can share with your kids that are simple to find online. Pick up an animal book prior to going to the zoo. Learn about a specific period of history and then take your children to the latest art exhibit. You can make a fun quiz, puzzle, game or activity with your kids after each visit.

  • Weekly Library trips throughout the summer: Many local libraries will have summer reading lists if your child’s school does not. Make time to read every day with your children. This site has great summer reading lists and they are categorized by year/age/ and the types of books your kids may be interested in.

  • Make the most of long car rides: Download audible or check out audiobooks from the local library for the family to listen to together while at home or in the car.

  • Find your local academic summer programs: Local libraries often have a list of resources for formalized classes as do many of the local schools/camps. Check out these educational activities for your children at the Science Museum of Western Virginia or visit Academic Accelerated “If you are looking for a program that teaches skills designed to increase intelligence rather than strategies that will be soon forgotten.”

More information about Summer Slide and ways to avoid:

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