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How to Beat the “Summer Slide”: School May Stop for the Summer, But Learning Never Should
Brooke Choate
Reading Outdoors

The end to another school year is slowly creeping up and students are getting excited for the fun and adventure that this summer will bring. As you begin to fill your schedules and feverishly plan out these three long months from June through August, you may not realize that something else will also be planning to ease itself into your schedule… a concept known (and slightly loathed) by most educators as the “summer slide.”

When children are out of the classroom during the summer months, they will often experience learning loss (to different degrees depending on the child and other variables.) “Summer sliding” has become so prevalent and recognized that it has been given an official name. The “summer slide” is why many private schools like Holy Child School at Rosemont provide summer activities for students to complete.

Research shows that children who don’t engage in educational activities can lose up to 2 months of reading/math skills during the summer months and that teachers spend an average of 4 to 6 weeks re-teaching and reviewing skills at the start of each school year. Providing your child with meaningful learning experiences can help them avoid the infamous "summer slide."

As a learning specialist and a parent, I have been witness to the effects of the "summer slide" and consequently have researched and explored ideas and activities for how to combat it. Thankfully, many engaging ideas exist.

Reading in Library

Here are just a few tips that you, as a parent, can try with your child this summer:

PreKindergarten - Grade 2


Grades 3 - 5


Grades 6 - 8

  • Make reading fun! Summertime can make reading more pleasurable because it provides children opportunities to read books that aren’t chosen by their school and to read in places other than school (i.e. the park, the beach, on a camping trip.) Children can use the summer to pick high interest level books to read at their own pace and in their own space.

  • Math is part of summer too! Through real life experiences, show your child how math can be an integral part of summer. Encourage your child to host a sale (baked goods, lemonade, garage) where they are in charge of the pricing (collecting money, making change, etc.) to keep computation skills fresh and active. Additional incentives could be encouraging them to use some funds afterwards to purchase a personal item of choice.

  • Prepare for the return… As summer starts to wind down, encourage your child to start reflecting on the events and activities in which they participated through various writing prompts. Examples include: “What stands out as the #1 highlight of your summer? What do you wish you had had more time to do/try? Did you try anything new?”

As with all things, balance is key. These ideas will help you stay ahead of the "summer slide", but also be sure to leave plenty of time for unstructured play during this beautiful time of year.

Make this summer a “Brain Gain” and not a “Brain Drain!”

Teaching Literacy

About Brooke

Brooke Choate is a former classroom teacher and current reading specialist, wrapping up her first year as the Learning Specialist at Holy Child School at Rosemont. Prior to arriving at Holy Child, Brooke’s love for literacy and educating children led her to create various programs through her business, “Little Ones for Literacy,” to enrich children’s understanding of our language and its structure. This summer, “Little Ones for Literacy” will be running its academic summer camp at Holy Child for children ages rising PreKindergarten - rising 4th grade.

Brooke and her husband are the proud parents of two daughters (in 1st and 4th grades) and a very lively labrador puppy.