Summer Slide: Ways to Fight Summer Learning Loss

Ah, summer. A time for kids (and families) to take a break from the crazy schedules, homework, and stress. It’s also, hopefully, a time to try new things through vacations, camps, and activities. What it shouldn’t be, however, is a time to disengage from learning.

Summer slide is a term used to define the learning loss kids can experience when not in school. The average student can “slide” back one month each summer. Kids from low-income families can experience even more loss, up to two full months of learning, each summer. Studies also show that older students lose more than younger students. Summer, then, is a crucial time for these students to keep learning rather than increase the achievement gap.

Summer slide is different than summer melt, a phenomenon where college-going students “melt” away over the summer and don’t report to college as they had intended.

The Faucet Theory describes why summer slide affects students from low-income families more than those from higher income families. The “faucet” stops or slows for low-income students during the summer. After the awareness of this theory, it’s critical to identify easily-accessible resources to fight the loss. This article highlights ways teachers can stay connected to their students, including using Facebook Live. Check out this site for 25 fun things for kids of all ages. Many cities offer local programming families can take advantage of that are no cost or low cost. The library, for example, is a great place to get started.

Experts aren’t saying students need to be reading or playing online math games all summer long, but they do recommend a variety of things to keep kids moving and engaged in learning-type activities.

If you want to help curb the summer slide, here are a few resources you can tap into:

ACT Academy Summer Slide Site: A great resource for online learning for grades 3-12.

ACT BINGO: Who doesn’t love this fun game? Get started on planning your future with this friendly game.

Sneaking Past the Summer Slide: How to Make the Most of Summer Without a Single Flashcard”: There are many things you can do out and about to engage kids in learning. This article gets you started.

How to prevent the summer slide—and turn brain drain into brain gain“: Ideas to connect your kids to new learning opportunities.

For the soon-to-be high school senior, this is a great read to get a jump on the college-going process, and this is a great resource for essay prompts.

By recognizing summer as a time of learning loss, parents, families, educators, and communities can be proactive and turn summer into a season of learning new and different things, while retaining the learning that students do throughout the school year.