Preventing Summer Slide or Brain Drain
Larry Watters, Principal
“Summer Slide”, or “Brain Drain” as some call it, is the loss of learning due a decline in educational activities over the summer months. Studies over the past one hundred years show that students score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the end of the previous year. Research varies as to the projected percentage of decline in scores and skills most adversely affected during the summer months. Although the study results vary, they do conclude that both math skills and reading achievement can decline from one to three months for students not practicing those skills.
Luckily there are programs already in place that can help students fight “Summer Slide”. GRASP, summer reading programs at Kent District Libraries and school sponsored reading and math incentives are just a few of the possibilities.
In addition to organized programs, researchers suggest keeping many good books around and making regular trips to the library. Just six books read during the summer months can keep reading skills from regressing. Utilize the local librarians to find books that will interest your child. They will help to match their age, interests and abilities to available resources. In addition to books, the library can offer daily newspapers, magazines or online sources too. Your local library can offer a variety of materials to keep reading interesting.
While summer reading opportunities abound, it may at first seem a bit daunting to find ways to keep your child’s math skills sharp. While the idea of filling the summer days with various math activities is a great idea, in practice it may hardly ever occur. A better idea may be to do a quick search on your tablet or smart phone. There are various math games at sites such as funbrain , gamequaruim and mathplayground that may make math a bit more user-friendly this summer. Practicing age and ability appropriate math skills may be as simple as accessing your child’s online school math account. The online accounts should still active throughout the summer.
Summertime fills quickly with trips, camps, and all sorts of daily fun. If possible, take some time to set your child up for success by maintaining or even advancing skills over the summer months. Rather than “Brain Drain” over the summer months we could be celebrating “Summer Brain Gain” this fall.