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4 Ways Your Student Can Avoid the “Summer Slide”

Hearing the final school bell for the year can bring feelings of joy, relief, and…dread? Many students, their parents, and their future teachers know the reality of the so-called “Summer Slide.”

Summer learning loss happens in two ways: forgetting what we’ve learned and not making any progress over the break. Research has shown that students can forget 25-30 percent of what they’ve learned. It can be difficult to balance the need for our learners to decompress AND keep up with everything they should do to prepare for school again.

Students don’t have to slip. No matter your situation or grade level, here are four steps students and parents can take together to move forward, not drop:

1. Read. Read again. Read more.
With the availability of paper and digital books, you have more opportunities than ever to read every day. Be sure to read together with your student, read everything you can (like billboards on a road trip!), and then discuss what you are reading with open-ended questions.

2. Explore Your Fascination
Promote learning and reward curiosity by letting students research things that interest them. Support them by looking online or for books about those topics. This will serve them well later when they need to make big academic and career decisions.

3. Don’t Underestimate What These Kids Can Do
Learning can be messy and full of failure. Often we surprise ourselves just by trying. Be sure to challenge students to take risks and emphasize hard work over natural talent. Reading, writing, and exploring are FUNdamental to the process.

4. Embrace Math, The Core of Science and Tech
Math during vacation? It’s easy to find and identify math concepts in games, activities, and trips to the playground. Brush up on everything from simple to advanced math in art, music, video games, camping trips, and much more.

You don’t have to sacrifice students’ summer fun to help them retain knowledge. It’s all about making connections. Following these steps will provide a routine, and ideally, confidence for the day that class begins again!

Hilary Scharton is the Vice President of K-12 Product Strategy for Canvas by Instructure, the open online learning management system (LMS) that makes teaching and learning easier. In her role, she sets the strategic vision for how Canvas makes its products even more awesome for students and teachers across the globe, while focusing on leveraging technology to support improved instruction and equitable access for all students.

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