What Is The Summer Slide & How To Prevent it?

Your child’s finally hit their stride this school term. Their marks in maths and reading? Higher than ever! And they’re even spending 30 minutes before bedtime reading that new fantasy book series they begged you to buy.

With the summer holidays looming ahead, no doubt you’re both looking forward to a much-deserved break. Before either of you start counting down the days until you’re holidaying on the coast—you need to know about the summer slide. That’s not a slide you’ll find at the water park, either.   

Summer slide, aka summer learning loss, is the significant decline in reading, maths, and other skills during the summer holiday. The good news is you don’t have to watch your child’s academic progress drift out to sea this summer.

Keep reading to learn more about preventing summer slide and practical tips for derailing it. We’ll also cover fun educational activities you can incorporate into your summer routine without disruption.

Is Summer Slide Real?

Not only is summer slide real, but researchers have studied it for decades. They’ve discovered the negative effects it can reap on children and the academic achievement gap. Let’s dive into what the summer slide research has revealed.

  • On average, students’ achievement test scores declined by one month of in-school learning over the summer holiday, according to summer slide research.
  • Research indicates that learning loss can set back students up to two years by Year 6.
  • Latino and Black students experience higher levels of learning loss compared to white students.
  • Research also tells us that ⅔ of the academic achievement gap is caused by summer slide.

When it comes to combating the summer slide, expert opinions vary on the most effective way to do it. Whether you choose a classroom-based option or recreational activities, remember that consistency is key. Focusing on controlled planning and controlled spaces will help your child’s learning process during the summer months.

How to Prevent Summer Slide

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In this case, if you want to prevent summer slide, you’ll need to be proactive. That starts with making a list of activities they may enjoy. 

We’ve compiled a list of educational activities that will prevent the summer slide. You can choose which will work best for your child–from reading and writing activities to travel, and more. You could even invite a holiday tutor into the mix to reinforce the benefits your child will gain from these activities. 

Facilitate Reading and Writing Activities

No matter if your child is a struggling or avid reader, when school’s out for the summer, they may not read as often or consistently on their own. The same goes for writing. Getting creative with reading and writing activities can help prevent the summer slide. 

Here are some of the best out-of-the-box activities we recommend to prevent summer slide:

  • Let your child choose what they want to read. They’ll be more likely to read more for extended periods.
  • Encourage your child to start a summer book club with their friends.
  • Designate a family reading night. No TV. No screen time. Just everyone reads what they like in the same room.
  • Read aloud to your child, which can build their listening comprehension skills.
  • For writing, encourage your child to journal.
  • Create a story challenge–where you offer your child a creative writing prompt, and they must create a story in a set amount of time.
  • Start a free blog, and offer a writing prompt or allow them to free-write.

Experiment With Problem-Solving Activities 

Offering your child activities to further develop their problem-solving skills can prevent summer slide. These activities don’t have to be boring, either. After all, it’s the summer holiday.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Create a scavenger hunt, and get the family involved.
  • Encourage them to do maths problems.
  • Look for easy DIY experiments—make an erupting volcano or choose a famous painting and encourage your child to replicate it.
  • Break out the board games, such as chess, checkers, puzzles, etc. 

Try New Sports and Hobbies 

Has your child been begging you to take guitar lessons? Or gymnastics? But you had to say no because there wasn’t enough time during the school year? 

Enter the summer holiday season! When your child has their mind set on pursuing a new skill, they’ll likely have more fun, stay engaged, and commit to it—all critical factors to preventing summer slide.

If your child isn’t sure about which sport or new skill they might like to pursue, we recommend choosing one based on their learning style. For instance, if they’re an auditory learner, they may enjoy learning a new language in a small group setting–where they can practise speaking and listening to vocabulary.

Or, for kinaesthetic learners, taking up a sport may teach them several hard and soft skills such as rules, strategy, teamwork, endurance, focus, and commitment. 

Enjoy Travel

For some families, the summer holiday means it’s time to travel. Exploring a new city [or country] can effectively keep summer slide away—if you approach it as a learning experience. From it, your child can hone their spatial learning, logical reasoning, language skills, analytical skills, and more. Here are our top tips for your next holiday:

  • Encourage your child to research the destination before the trip. The research will reinforce what they learn once you’re there.
  • Ask your child about the top 3 places they want to visit and why. Then? Visit them! They’ll be more invested [and excited]!
  • Take advantage of local walking guides or bus tours.
  • Immerse yourselves into the local culture–take a cooking class. Trek off the beaten path away from the tourist areas.
  • Explore the new place/culture through its food! Maybe they’ll try unfamiliar cuisine and leave their comfort zone.
  • Invite your child to use essential words in a new language when it’s customary (e.g., “Bonjour” when entering a shop or bistro in Paris, etc.).
  • Encourage them to journal their experience each day.

Summer Tutoring Programs

A summer tutoring program may be ideal if your child benefits from a more structured learning environment. Sessions over the holidays is a tried-and-tested method to keep their cognitive wheels turning, which can prevent summer slide.

That doesn’t mean your child must spend eight hours a day in a classroom, either. Every summer program is different. Several studies confirm that summer education provides short-term and lasting benefits for their students–including preventing learning loss. Regardless of which program you choose, there are practical holiday study tips they can follow to make their summer school experience rewarding.

Prevent Summer Slide and Have Fun!

When school lets out, that doesn’t mean learning needs to stop. Weaving educational opportunities and activities into your child’s summer holiday schedule can keep the summer slide at bay, and your child’s progress on the up and up!

Fortunately, your child has several options–from reading activities, DIY projects, travel, and more. There isn’t just one way to prevent summer slide. So, cobble together the best activities to keep your child engaged and excited about learning.

Are you ready to prevent the summer slide and help your child continue learning all summer? A Team Tuition is here to help. With our tried and true tutoring methods, we can help your child thrive during the holidays with our at-home and online tutoring. With our help, when school comes back in session, they’ll be ready. Find a tutor near you today!