The Summer Slide Is Not Inevitable

by | Jun 20, 2017

avoiding the summer slide

Every year around this time articles pop up all over the place about what is referred to as the “summer slide.”  Research indicates that children lose 2+ months of academic learning over summer break due to this slide.

Even worse, children from low income households are the most affected by this learning loss. SOURCE

As a parent this is admittedly a scary idea. It conjures visions of your child returning to school unable to read or write his name.

For a child with ADHD or some other exceptionality, the threat is all the more real.

My son works so hard to control his emotions and behaviors, he rarely has time to focus solely on learning. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t an eager learner, he loves to learn. He just needs to buy in to the learning.

Avoiding the summer slide is about keeping your children engaged in activities that play to their strengths and interests.

The summer slide is not inevitable


the summer slide is not inevitable

Create Your Own Story Books

Summer is the perfect time to practice writing. Or more specifically, story telling using pictures and writing.

Since my son’s school uses kid writing and it seems to work for him, we are going to practice writing superhero stories.

Seeing Captain Underpants in the theater gave me this idea – if I can get my son to draw his favorite super heroes, perhaps I can get him to create his own super hero stories?

This is my plan:

  • Gather the superhero toys and books we already own.
  • Have my son play for a while and come up with some superhero scenarios.
  • Let him draw some of what is in his imagination. (This will be the hardest part, he gets frustrated if his drawings don’t look EXACTLY how he wants them to.)
  • Help him use Kid Writing to put together little personalized story books.

Research topics of interest

Since we are big on animals around here, we can spend time researching some of our favorites to create informational texts, too.  So far we have come up with narwhals and lemurs as the animals of choice.

Taking a trip to the library is always a good time. We will look for and check out some books.

Together we can come up with a couple questions he has about the animals so that we can turn it into more of a research project. My guess is that we will talk a lot about lemur “stink.”

Here is a good article from ADDitude about project-based learning.

Summer School for ADHD Kids

Read Every Day

My son started to really enjoy reading this year in kindergarten.

After school got out I was worried about how I would keep him reading. The first couple of days he fought me every time I tried.

Trying to get this kid to read outside of his kindergarten classroom was like asking him to have a root canal. He whined and writhed around on the floor as if being tortured.

One day I asked him if we could have one of our compromises. Much to my surprise he agreed. I offered to read every other page of his books with him each night.

So now, that is what we do. Little man chooses a book and we take turns reading the pages.

I am still working on our after-dinner reading hour. I would like us to work on chapter books each night before we get ready for bed. We will see how that goes…

The point is he is reading. And he is getting more fluent every day.

the summer slide is not inevitable

Build a summer scrap book

Right after school got out I asked E if he would like to make a scrap book of our summer adventures.

He liked the idea, so now I pull it out whenever I want to get him off of the television.

My idea was to take lots of photos and glue them into a lined notebook so that he could more easily write beneath each one. Since we don’t have a good camera, we take photos using my iphone and send them to Walgreens to be developed.

E decided his first entry should be a picture of Ben Ten and some aliens.

I snuck in a couple other photos.  If we keep this up we will have a nice little memory book of the summer of 2017 complete with beach photos, camp experiences and even our non-crafty projects.

As a mom, I like the summer scrap book because he gets to use his writing, reading and imagination all in one place. Here is a photo of our jetpack.

the summer slide is not inevitable

the summer slide is not inevitable

If you are concerned about the summer slide, keep in mind that summer is about experiences and taking a break from the classroom.

I totally understand those that wish school was year-round, but I also believe children need some mental space to just play and think.

The key is to disguise the learning as fun experiences. Well, maybe not disguise, but at least loosen the framework for learning.

You do not have to spend hours using flashcards or practicing sight words, you just have to do one or two smallish activities each day to keep your child thinking and using their imagination.

Avoiding the summer slide is about keeping your children engaged in activities that play to their strengths and interests.

How do you intend to avoid the summer slide?

Do you believe there is a summer slide? Why or why not?

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