Three Tips to Avoid the Summer Slide: Is Summer Learning Loss Affecting your Child?

Speech therapy can help your child communicate with confidence!Summer is here, and kids across the country are celebrating the upcoming two months of freedom from classes, books, and the stress of the school year. Although summer is a great time for kids to relax and recharge, the break from academic activities can also have negative consequences. Summer learning loss (aka, the “Summer Slide”) is a well-documented phenomenon where children perform significantly worse on tests at the end of summer than at the beginning. This loss of academic skills and knowledge can be a difficult hurdle for any child as they approach the new school year. For children with communication or learning disorders, it can be an even bigger obstacle to success. Here are some ways you can help your child avoid the Summer Slide and be prepared to tackle school head-on in the fall:

Make Reading and Writing a Regular Part of Their Schedule: Making reading and writing a part of your child’s typical routine is essential to maintaining language and literacy skills. Find time to go to the library or a book store, and let your child choose a book that interests them. Then read it together, and use the story to boost critical thinking skills. As you read, if there are new vocabulary words your child isn’t familiar with, have them try to guess the meaning from the context of the sentence. Then challenge them to use these new words in a sentence during the day. Incorporate writing into your child’s schedule over the summer too. Encourage them to keep a journal or diary and write about vacations or special events over the summer. Or, have your child keep in touch with friends or family members who live far away with old-fashioned letters. Find ways to make reading and writing a fun part of your child’s routine!

Give Them a Preview of the Upcoming School Year: Talk to your child’s teachers to find out what topics will be tackled in the coming year. While you don’t need to teach your child the material in advance, exposing them to some of the topics and themes can help get them ready for learning, so the material doesn’t seem so foreign in September. Incorporate math concepts into cooking or play time, or read books that incorporate science or history subjects that will be covered. It can also be helpful to review material your child learned in the previous year to make sure the knowledge and skills aren’t lost.

Don’t Let Therapy Slide: If your child receives speech and language services during the school year, losing this support over the summer can make summer learning loss even more severe. Enrolling your child in speech-language therapy with an outside provider over the summer can help them to retain their skills and hit the ground running in the fall. The speech-language pathologist can organize sessions based on the curriculum the child will face in the fall, and can coordinate with their school-based speech-language therapist to continue to target their school-year goals.

Want to learn more? If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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