Often, the word summer conjures up images of hot, sunny days that are filled with the laughter of children playing at the park. The days of sitting in the classroom and the material learned are often forgotten, for the time being. Unfortunately, this has a significant impact on children’s educational experience.
Ever heard, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”? Oftentimes, children stop actively learning during the summer months. This causes them to lose some of what was learned during the previous school year. This is known as “summer slide,” “brain drain,” or “summer learning loss.” As stated by iD Tech, “Research indicates two months of reading skills and two and a half months of math skills are lost over a single summer.” Summer slide is cumulative, so by the time students reach middle and high school, there is potential for years of learning to be lost.
Summer slide also causes repetitive teaching at the beginning of the new school year. Teachers typically spend 4-6 weeks re-teaching the material that the students have forgotten over the summer. According to iD Tech, “It costs the educational system more than $1,500 per student to reteach materials. Over the course of a K-12 education, that can equate to more than $18,000 per student.”
Preventing summer slide can be easy, once it is understood. Parents and guardians need to set the example and create a positive, fun climate around reading and learning. There are numerous ways to encourage your child(ren) to continue actively learning. This does not mean they have to do “homework” daily. Weekly trips to the library, a subscription to a magazine that peaks their interest, reading road signs on a trip, helping to prepare dinner, attending a summer camp, or exploring nature are all great ideas. Find activities that will keep their growing minds engaged.
Chatham County Schools (CCS) offer many resources to combat summer slide. Two of the educational platforms that are offered for K-8, will help keep your children learning during their break. One is called Freckle. It has reading, math, and science and moves kids along at their own pace and provides enrichment and skill remediation. MyON will also be offered. It is similar to Netflix, but it is for books. It will allow students to access online books over the summer. This summer, CCS also has a “Reach 20” learning challenge for students in grades K-8. Students can complete a reading and learning log to win prizes when they return to school in August. Please refer to the Chatham County School’s Summer Learning website for additional resources that are offered: https://sites.google.com/a/chatham.k12.nc.us/ccs-summer-learning/home/summer-learning-challenge.
The Chatham County Library and Chatham Reads will also be combating the “summer slide” by hosting a Summer Learning Day. It will be held on July 6th from 2 pm – 4 pm, at the Virginia Cross Elementary School gym. At this event, all children within Chatham County are welcome to come and learn about “summer slide,” receive tools to prevent this from happening, play games, watch a theatre skit by Rags To Riches, work on a STEM project, and much more. Mark this on your calendar!
All parents and guardians want to see their children succeed and not struggle. Summer can be filled with enriching activities and experiences that will allow your child to continue learning. Make it fun and enjoy making the memories!