The Insiders Guide to Education
The pile of summer book lists, summer work packets, and summer teacher recommendations is starting to build in my house. And while it is the last thing I want to think about when summer is close enough to taste, I know preventing summer learning loss begins now. Reading experts are in agreement that students who read consistently during the summer gain reading skills; while those who do not often slide backward in their reading level. According to the National Summer Learning Association: “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year. … It’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.”
“Summer slide” applies the most to reading and math, but students who struggle in any given area are more at risk for summer slide. Often just keeping a child reading over the summer is not enough to prevent summer slide because most kids need help processing the text to go beyond skimming and to maintain reading comprehension skills. Speaking as a classroom teacher, it was easy to tell which kids had a steady maintenance program over the summer and could dive right in and which students need at least a month of review before they could tackle any new material.
So, either you have already programmed every moment of your child’s summer, or you are in the same boat I’m in and there are still some stretches of summer that will become too lazy if you don’t come up with a plan for some type of academic skill maintenance fast. Or, perhaps your child comes home with a report card over the next weeks with a surprise or two and some summer recommendations from the teacher that you had not planned on. In the Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts region, my number one recommendation is call RITES at 401-723-4459 to get an overview of which of the many academic camps they oversee across the state that might still have a spot open (see below and click on titles for a sneak peek at courses that still have a few openings!).
Whether your elementary student comes home with a comment like, “It is essential that Johnny reviews math concepts covered this year to be ready for next year” or “Sue is reading at grade level but still struggles with comprehension or fluency”, there are still a few spots for them to attend the Moses Brown School Reading and Math three-week program for students entering grades 1 – 4 in the fall. This workshop is designed to review and boost skills in a fresh and engaging way that will help them stop summer slide and hit the ground running in the fall.
If your entering fifth-grader or sixth-grader needs to work on reading comprehension, delving deeper into the meaning of the text, expanding vocabulary, and building better written answers to what is read, the three-week Advanced Language Arts at The Hamilton School at Wheeler is designed with these skills in mind.
If your child struggles with writing and math, now an essential part of most math curricula and assessment tools, consider the three-week Written Expression with Mathematics course for fourth-graders and fifth graders at The Hamilton School at Wheeler.
All middle school students need to develop study skills before they hit high school, so if you have repeated comments about organization, missing assignments, test scores that do not reflect ability, etc., on a report card, now is the time to sign up your pre-teen or teen for Study Smarter, Not Harder for Middle School at The Hamilton School at Wheeler or Rocky Hill School.
If your child is unwilling to do anything school related over the summer, Comics by Kids at Moses Brown, Communicating Through Comics at Hamilton, and Authors & Illustrators or Authors Workshop at Rocky Hill are great ways to squeeze in some academics under the guise of making a comic book or writing your own picture book! These classes are packed with academic skills made fun through student choice, and partnering creative expression with skill development.
Whatever summer schedule holes you are now realizing, whichever teacher summer recommendations you get, a quick phone call to Lisa or Halley at RITES will get you the run down on what camps are still available on which dates and what will best suit the needs of your happy camper! The skilled teachers at the RITES programs are the first line of defense against summer slide.