A Parent’s Guide to Avoiding the Summer Slide

By Dr. Tyra Seldon for blackdoctor.org

Summer is upon us and many of us are making plans that include travel and vacation joy. Your plans may even include a visit to the pool and a fun trip down the slide into some refreshing pool water. Although that slide may be enjoyable, there is another slide that you want to avoid and that is the summer slide.

Yes, the summer is often thought of as a break for children, but it is also a time when some children, without the routine of attending daily classes, fall behind. So much so, that educators refer to this dip as the summer slide.

The Brookings Institute defines the summer slide as a phenomenon when students “start the academic year with achievement levels lower than where they were at the beginning of the summer break.”

The slide can affect children of all backgrounds because time away from school often signals time away from learning.

The good news is that parents can take an active role in stopping or minimizing the impact of the summer slide. The key is having an educational plan in place for the summer.

The following quick guide provides low, or no-cost, options that can help parents position their children to be successful when school starts again in the fall.

Visit the library

The local public library is a gold mine for those who want to keep their children’s brains active throughout the summer. Many libraries have guest speakers, children’s programs, and even reading incentive programs for the youth.

Invest in a tutor

We often think of tutors when students are not doing well in school. However, summer tutoring often hones in on enrichment and supplementation. In fact, this would be a great time for your child to get more one-on-one, individualized, assistance.

Kiddie College

Check your local community college or regional university to see if they offer summer courses that are for the community, specifically young people. Offerings like coding and creative writing might be of interest, especially if these courses are not offered during the school year.

Take Advantage of Online Resources

There are numerous online resources that are also free. One of the most popular ones that will help your child with his/her math skills is called Khan Academy. Khan Academy’s offerings are intended to help students with numerous math skills; there is even a specific drop-down menu to help parents navigate the site.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Create a Cerebral Home Environment

To be honest, attacking the summer slide begins at home. If you don’t already have one, start investing in a home library that reflects a wide range of subject areas written by a diverse pool of authors, scholars, and educators.

Regardless of which of these approaches you take, make sure that the only slide that your child enjoys this summer is at the playground or the pool.

An image as a link: W3Schools