The summer slump… it’s a phrase that educators all over the country know and dread. It’s a phrase used to describe what happens to many students during the summer months when they are not in school participating in the day-to-day routine of learning.
What is the Summer Slump?
Many students who return to school after a long summer will be starting the year with achievement levels lower than where they were at the beginning of summer break. This phenomenon, which is often referred to as summer slump, summer slide, or summer setback, has been researched going back as far as 1906.
A review of 39 studies published in 1996 found that summer loss equaled about one month of classroom learning. Results also showed that students tended to regress more in the area of math than in the area of reading. Plus, studies found that students from middle-and-upper-class families improved in reading over the summer, while students from lower-income families regressed.
So what can be done to beat summer slump?
Teachers can’t follow their students around all summer with books and math manipulatives, but they can give students and their family’s access to resources, opportunities, and information. Here are some ways to encourage students to keep learning over the summer:
High-Interest Reading Lists
Instead of handing out an endless list of books for students to read over the summer, ask students to create a list of books that they WANT to read, based on interests or upcoming events. Students are far more apt to read if they read something that they are interested in.
Many students have access to websites and mobile apps that make learning fun. Teachers can help by giving parents lists of age-appropriate, research-backed resources to use throughout the summer. Teachers may want to check out “Best Apps to Slow the Summer Learning Slide,” to get started.
Ask students to brainstorm a list of topics they can write about throughout the summer. Ask students to bring the journals back to school in September to share with their friends and new classmates! This can be the perfect ice breaker. Collaboration with the teacher(s) in the next grade level is an integral part of this, so that students know that they will be held accountable for their writing once they return to school.
Summer Success Kits
Each kit is designed for students transitioning to the next grade level and contains a variety of fun reading and math activities that will keep students learning and thinking all summer long.
If we can keep our students’ brains learning over the summer, they’ll be ready to begin the school year both refreshed and relaxed and ready learn. Picking up where they left off is a huge advantage for the new school year!
What activities do you recommend for students in order to prevent the summer slump?