Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Simple steps kids can take to buck the 'summer slide'

Posted July 6, 2015

Worried about the summer slide, the academic decline some kids experience during the summer months when they're out of school?

Experts say it's real. Math and reading skills can decline significantly during summer vacation, educators and researchers have found. From the National Summer Learning Association's website,

  • Research from the past 100 years shows that students often have lower standardized tests scores at the end of summer break than they do on the same tests at the start of summer.
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level knowledge in math during the summer. Low-income students lose more than two months in reading ability though their middle-class peers make some small improvements.

But it's easy for kids to buck the trend. In fact, says one expert in a CBS news story, "a little bit of reading a couple of times a week is really all it takes."

It really is simple to keep kids on track. Some recommendations, in addition to reading regularly:

  • Write in journals or letters to friends or relatives;
  • Review school assignments from the previous school year;
  • Hold a lemonade stand where young kids can brush up on adding and subtracting;
  • Have older kids help cook and bake or build something and practice with fractions, multiplying and dividing.

For my family, the summer means a chance to check out the region's museums and take some road trips. My kids help with the planning and get the chance to see and learn new things.

We also love our library's summer reading program, which aims to give kids an opportunity to read all summer. My rising fifth grader is knocking out books for next year's Battle of the Books program. My rising kindergarten is plowing through countless early chapter books.

I wrote about many of the region's summer reading programs, which are going strong. In fact, Durham County Library will hold a Summer Reading Midpoint Rally from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, at Durham Central Park, 501 Foster St. The Rally will feature performers, bands and a Dress-Your-Dog-as-a-Superhero Parade. Food trucks will also be on site throughout the event.

And if you're looking for book ideas for your kids, award-winning Wake County librarian Ann Burlingame made some great recommendations.


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