Everyone talks about the summer slide, but is it really a thing?

A recent study called the NWEA RIT Scale Norms Study in 2015 estimated that students lose 20% to 50% of their school year gains as they grow older.

“Summer learning loss was observed in math and reading across third to eighth grade, with students losing a greater proportion of their school year gains each year as they grow older – anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.”
– NWEA RIT Scale Norms Study in 2015

As a parent and former teacher, I can attest to the importance of keeping your child’s skills fresh throughout the summer. Children who read and engage in educational activities with their families see growth in every area of their academics. Take time throughout your summer break to actively take part in your child’s learning process.


1. Kitchen Math

Math is one of summer’s forgotten skills. Many studies show math skills decreasing faster than reading skills over the summer.

“In the summer following third grade, students lose nearly 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school-year gains in math. By the summer after seventh grade, students lose on average 36 percent of their school-year gains in reading and a whopping 50 percent of their school-year gains in math.”
– NWEA RIT Scale Norms Study in 2015

If you are at the grocery store, create a math problem within their skill level that they can figure out as you shop. Summer Math Practice

(2nd–3rd grade) Today I am going to make applesauce. My recipe calls for six green apples, but I need to double the recipe. How many apples do I need to buy today?

(3rd–5th grade) Micaela picked 171 cherry tomatoes from her garden. She split them equally among herself and two friends. How many cherry tomatoes did each person get?

2. Garden Science

Whether you have an outdoor box garden or just a window box, plan to grow a few garden favorites this summer! Gardening teaches gives children practice developing their creativity, responsibility, and physical development.

3. Summer Reading Fun

By now we all know the importance of reading over the summer months. Evidence shows (National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U.S. Department of Education) a strong connection between reading skills/frequency and academic success. Develop a reading plan for your family this summer! Set goals for family read-alouds and your child’s individual reading progress. Here are some suggestions for incorporating reading into your daily summer routine.

Our Top Favorite Read-Alouds on Audible:
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Magic Tree House Collection by Mary Pope Osborne
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan


Five Finger Rule: If there are five words in the first page of reading text your child does not know, choose a simpler book.

4. Memory Book Writing

Summer journal writing Create a summer memory book with photos and have your child write about each adventure. If you have a budding photographer, let him or her get behind the lens and take create his or her own photo portfolio. This will turn out to be a wonderful keepsake for your child to remember summer experiences. The book doesn’t have to be fancy, and the photos can even be drawn. The writing can be short or long depending on your child’s abilities.

Challenge them to edit their own work. You can even offer a reward for every mistake they find in their writing! (I find that small food rewards work well in this instance. Our family’s favorites are yogurt-covered raisins and chocolate chips. My children receive one raise or chocolate chip for each mistake found.)

Design a Summer Learning Schedule

Creating a summer learning routine will help you (or your child?) stay on track with your learning goals all summer long. Post a summer learning calendar to help your child complete reading and math goals appropriate to his/her age.

For example, for a child ages x–x:

Daily Summer Activities makes it easy to have fun and learn all summer long in only 15 minutes a day. There’s a checklist for your child to track daily progress and record summer reading books, and there are sticker reward sheets (up to grade 5). Middle school students can also track their progress and record summer reading.

Keep summer learning active and engaging with a combination of indoor and outdoor activities that challenge your child to think, solve problems, and most important of all, just have fun!

Source:  Evan-Moor – The Joy of Teaching