How can NJ parents avoid the ‘summer slide?’
As schools across New Jersey finish up the last week of classes before summer recess, experts are warning parents to keep their children engaged in reading, math and other academic activities in an effort to prevent the so-called "summer slide."
According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), all young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. In fact, their research has shown that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
The summer slide is such a prevalent problem that NSLA said it is common for teachers to spend at least a month reteaching material that students have forgotten over the summer, and most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.
In an effort to address the problem, schools districts across New Jersey have implemented initiatives.
"There are many school districts that have summer reading programs and there are also many summer recreation program that have educational components to them," said Frank Belluscio, deputy executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association. "You will see mathematic activities or reading requirements in some districts over the summer.
Belluscio said some review is likely though once the school year starts up again in the fall.
"I think review in the fall is part of the educational process and downtime is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes having a little respite from academic endeavors can actually recharge the batteries," Belluscio said.
The summer slide is especially troubling for low-income students who lose as much as three months in reading achievement, according to NSLA. By fifth grade, cumulative years of summer learning loss can leave low income students two to three years behind their peers.
Belluscio said the bottom line is parents need to keep their children engaged over the summer.
"I think it is important for parents to keep their children reading over the summer," Reading age-appropriate literature is critical and that is not something that will interfere with summer sports programs or vacations," Belluscio said.
For more tips on what can be done to prevent the summer slide, visit www.summerlearning.org/.