The Summer Slide Unraveled

May 24, 2019 | Location Franklin WI

There's a phrase that is tossed around more and more, especially as we approach summer. The "Summer Slide" might seem like a scare tactic, but while it is real there's no need to fear it! 

Summer Slide is the phenomenom where students lose some of their learned skills over the summertime. Teachers can spend over a month of the school year reteaching material from the previous year - that's almost 20% of the year devoted to review! From data gathered from the nationwide MAP test recently, students lose on average 2 RIT points in Reading and 4 RIT points in Mathematics over the summer. When the average gain per year is only 8-12 RIT points, that means a loss of up to half of their skills! (NWEA)

So it's real, but what causes it? Your brain is a muscle, and will lose abilities if it isn't used. If a weight lifter who can dead-lift 400 lbs goes two months without lifting a single weight, they wouldn't be able to start right back at 400! Just like that weight lifter, we need to continue to train our brain. Mathnasium offers our regular sessions as well as Power Math Workouts to kick start your student's brain training! Students need to contually use the skills that they learn in order to transfer those skills from short-term memory into long-term memory that will stay with them.

Now that we know the cause of Summer Slide, the good news is that the solution is clear! Students need to stay involved in educational activities over the summertime. The largest gains come from evidence based programs, delivered by trained instructors. Mathnasium provides those services, bringing programs backed by 40 years of evidence. Our learning programs are tailored for each student's unique needs and addressing foundational skills as well as grade-level appropriate concepts. (Brookings Institute)

We were recently featured on Fox 6's Real Milwaukee program, and gave these 5 simple steps to combating Summer Learning Loss:

  • Routine. Your student already has a routine in the school year - they get up, go to school, and learn. Keep a routine going during the Summer! Enroll them in a Learning Center like Mathnasium to work on Mathematics. Attend Reading programs at your local library. Check your local Recreation Department for Nature and Science programs. Or even just set aside time specifically for education.
  • Question. Ask your student questions, and encourage them to ask you! Find out what they're learning, and ask them about it through the summer. You could check their review materials right now - take a pic so that you remember what's on it and ask them in July! A key technique used in Mathnasium and taught in educator programs around the world is Socratic Questioning - the art of teaching and reinforcing by asking questions. The beauty of this method is that you don't even have to know the answer yourself! Just ask, and let them answer!
  • Acknowledge. Recognize what you're doing as education. Don't try to fool your child, they're smarter than that. Make sure that they know that they are doing educational activities, and that you think it's important! When they regard education as an important value, they are more invested and engaged. Acknowledge and celebrate them when they make progress, and work with them to improve if they struggle. Education is a process, not a magical "poof you're smart!"
  • Practice. Use the routine to have set times for practicing their skills. But don't just let it sit there - find Teachable Moments! Just ate out? Have your student calculate the tip. Going shopping? Make a contest to see who can get closest to the total. Going on a trip? Let your student do research and plan a part of it, looking up events or attractions. Using maps to find places, checking reviews, budgeting admission fees are all valuable skills to develop.
  • Play! Don't make all your practice and education routine boring! There are hundreds of commercially available games to play with your student, which can be found with an online search. If you're not sure of what to look for, visit your Friendly Local Game Store and ask the associates there. They will be able to help you find a developmentally appropriate game as well as show you how to play. 

In the link below, you can watch me present these tips and teach the hosts of Real Milwaukee two math games that you can play at home with just a deck of cards and two pairs of dice! 

Real Milwaukee May 23

We look forward to being a partner in your education plan! Give us a call or come in to get more information about what we can do for you and your student!

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