What if I asked you to find the distance between the points (-4 , -5) and (-1 , -1) on a graph – would you be able to do it?  This is something we all learned in our early learning days, but I’m sure – unless you have been training this part of your brain regularly – this question would take you some time to solve. 

Children’s learning is no different, and the summer represents a core time when this learning is put on hold. During Covid, we’ve seen this learning gap intensify as lower income students struggle to learn at home.

A study way back in 1996 first documented what we now call the “summer slide” – or when children’s knowledge of certain subjects like math or reading declines over the summer because they aren’t working those parts of their brain. A more recent study of children in 3rd to 5th grades also showed that students lost, on average, about 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school-year gains in math during summer break, and students from low income houses are particularly susceptible.

While it may already be July, it’s not too late to combat the effects of this slide and make sure your kids are all caught up and ready for back to school this fall. According to Scholastic, here are a few ways you can get started to help maintain basic reading and math skills:

  1. Let kids read what they want! Where it might feel silly to let them read a comic book series, ANY reading is good! Your children will be more on board with reading if they are interested in the subject matter.
  2. Make time for smart play. This can include games and puzzles that get their brains working while having fun!
  3. Get out of the house. We’re all coming off a good ~18 months of shutdowns, and getting out of the house regularly is returning as the new norm. Visiting new places stimulates the brain and promotes learning. Check out a historic site, a new museum, or even bring a few books to the park for an all-day outdoor activity.
  4. Use your imagination! The biggest advice to curb the summer slide? Think outside the box! Flexing that imagination muscle helps expand vocabularies, experiment with new concepts, and build storytelling capabilities. 

Not sure where to start? Our summer program is still virtual, and makes sure your children are entertained WHILE they learn. Partnering with libraries across the country, we are bringing this directly to YOUR community! And it’s not too late to join! Visit our website to learn more about our shorter 4-week program to keep your kids’ brains stimulated with crafts, stories, and maybe even a few journeys through our Once Upon a Time Machine! 

Reading this later and already missed the summer? Don’t fear! Our Storyologist Kids Club offers free resources all year round! Learn more here…  

And remember, when you read, every day is an adventure!