10 Tips to Beat the Summer Slide
By Megan Hughes, M.A., CCC-SLP
With summer quickly approaching, many of us are looking forward to summertime fun, sun, and NO SCHOOL! But summer also means less structure and not enough activities that focus on learning. Kids often return to school having regressed academically by up to two months! This is known as the Summer Slide. This may occur when children do not participate in activities that are engaging and encourage learning.
Once they return to school in the fall, students may read slower and have greater difficulty with reading comprehension. This may also cause greater difficulties with subjects that involve reading such as math, science, and social studies. Frequently, teachers need to spend time at the beginning of the school year re-teaching previously learned material. This delays the introduction of new material and may strain the already limited teaching time needed to cover the Iowa Core Standards.
But not to worry, because there are many things children and families can do in the summer to help promote reading in a fun and easy way! Help prevent that Summer Slide by following these fun tips:
TIPS FOR PREVENTING THE SUMMER SLIDE
- Contact your school librarian. This person may have information about summer reading programs going on in the area or a fun reading list to work through over the summer.
- Start a family book club. Read the same book as your children do. Discuss what they enjoyed about the book. By you reading the same book it models the importance of making time for reading during the summer months.
- Read 15-20 minutes daily. You can have your child read to you or themselves, or you can read to them.
- Contact your local public library. Public libraries often offer fun incentive reading programs that might help motivate your child to read over the summer.
- Cook together. This activity combines reading, math, and writing skills. Have them pick out a recipe, write down the grocery list, add up the cost of the groceries, etc.
- Build vocabulary. Pick one new word each week. Hang the word in a common room and see who can use it the most throughout the week.
- Listen to audio books. Summer trips can mean hours in the car. Replace a movie with an audio book to keep your kids occupied during the long drive.
- Check local semi-pro sports teams. The Cedar Rapids Kernels and other local teams offer a reading incentive program during the summer months.
- Read the book before watching the movie. Books such as Peter Rabbit, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Grinch are becoming movies this year.
- Enroll your child in a summer academic program. There are awesome programs in the area that can help prevent regression of reading and academic skills.
SUMMER AT ETLC
Here at ETLC we strive to prevent that Summer Slide and encourage further progress of academic skills. We have numerous summer programs at both our North Liberty and Urbandale locations!
Triumph Over Reading (North Liberty & Urbandale) & Early Triumph Over Reading (North Liberty):
Our program stands out above other tutoring resources because we teach very specific strategies for each child’s needs. We spend a considerable amount of time on helping the student to memorize vowel phonemes (sounds) and vowel-teams because this is one of the biggest obstacles for children who have difficulties reading. We then pair those vowels with consonants to start forming words, some real words and some nonsense words. Our goal is to increase complexity and length quickly. When a child is able to sound out nonsense words well, he/she has mastered that phonetic rule and can better generalize it to new words on his/her own.
Because the English language has many words that don’t follow a typical phonetic rule, we also incorporate a visualizing strategy to help students memorize target words to help them recognize them from page to page and day to day. The visualizing strategies we use are also key for improving spelling skills.
We assess each child to make sure that they can read the most prevalent words in the English language (top 1000 words). Once a child is able to recall these words, their confidence in reading improves greatly. Not only do we want them to know the words, but we want them to recall them automatically. Automatic recall is vital for fluent reading.
Once accuracy of reading words are apparent, we then concentrate on improving the rate and fluency of reading. Unlike many other tutoring programs, we make sure the student has grasped all phonics rules and knows a large number of sight words while also focusing on reading rate.
We take a holistic approach in addressing reading skills. We keep groups small because no two children are the same. We also break the group into even smaller groups when learning the phonics rules or fluency strategies based on the child’s level. With a small classroom size, we are able to take an individualized approach to maximize success.
Research-proven programs that we utilize are: Visualizing and Verbalizing (reading comprehension), Seeing Stars (reading/decoding), Barton (reading/decoding), and many more.
Mastering Math (North Liberty):
Research-proven strategies that we use for our math program cannot be found anywhere in the area, and they work!! We coach students on important visualizing strategies to help them to retain information and memorize math facts easily. When students do not have the basic facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division mastered, their math problem-solving abilities suffer. We want students to be able to recall answers quickly and easily. They can’t rely on counting on their fingers forever, so why not learn these skills right now?
We also help students to improve their higher-order-thinking skills to solve math word problems with ease. We help them to draw a mental image of the information presented in each word problem, then problem-solve to find the missing information.
Academic and Social Language Prep (North Liberty & Urbandale):
Kids of preschool age learn best through play and interacting with peers and adults. We start with a language enrichment circle time where skills such as letter identification, number identification, story comprehension, writing skills, counting and math skills are addressed. The session will also include more structured learning time where specific reading and math strategies can be utilized for each child’s abilities. The activities are designed to be fun and interactive – children will feel like they are playing!
We utilize a visual schedule and visual prompts to help keep the children on task and make each session productive and enriching. We implement fun brain breaks in order to release some energy, encourage interaction with peers, and prepare the children for more learning.
Research-proven strategies are utilized during these sessions, including the Talkies program (the preschool version of Visualizing and Verbalizing), Seeing Stars (reading/decoding program), vowel recognition strategies, Handwriting Without Tears, 5 Point Scale for behavior and emotional regulation, PROMPT (for articulation) and more.
Navigate Social Skills (North Liberty & Urbandale):
Our social skills program will incorporate a variety of programs and strategies specific to your child’s needs including the Zones, Room 13, Super Flex, Navigating the Social World, and more. Our goal is for students to not only understand skills and strategies but also to practice using those skills with their peers through role-play, team building activities, science experiments, cooking, and other functional activities.
We tailor the topics to our students’ needs and invite feedback from the parent to help us determine areas in which their children would most benefit. Some of these topics may include interpreting other’s body language and tone of voice, regulating own emotions, and using coping skills to keep reactions to these emotions in check. We strive to help students to express emotions like excitement, happiness, and disappointment appropriately and to convey their thoughts to others in a way that can be understood.
Growing Our Skills: Math & Reading (Urbandale):
Our program stands out above other tutoring resources because we teach very specific strategies for each child’s needs and level. We spend a considerable amount of time helping each student to memorize vowel phonemes (sounds) and vowel-teams because this is one of the biggest obstacles for children who have difficulties with reading. We then pair those vowels with consonants to start forming words, some real words and some nonsense words.
Our goal is to increase complexity and length quickly. When a child is able to sound out nonsense words well, he/she has mastered that phonetic rule and can better generalize it to new words on his/her own.
In the English language, there are many words that don’t follow a rule. Therefore, we teach a step-by-step strategy to help each child to visualize those words that are difficult for him/her so that he/she can recall it from page-to-page and day-to-day. Once a child is able to recall these words, his/her confidence in reading improves greatly. Not only do we want him/her to know the words, but we want him/her to recall them automatically. Automatic recall is vital for fluent reading.
We also target automatic recall for addition and subtraction math facts and improve higher order thinking skills to solve math word problems with ease. A student’s success in math relies on their ability to accurately and rapidly recall math facts. We teach students a visualizing strategy that has proven to be very successful in helping students master their math facts. We also apply math concepts, such as money or telling time, to real world situations. Making math meaningful for a child helps him/her understand the big picture!
We take a holistic approach in addressing reading and math skills. No two children are the same. Because of that we keep our groups small so that we can tailor our approach for each child’s needs. We also break the group into even smaller groups when learning the phonics rules based the child’s level.
Research-proven programs that we utilize are: Visualizing and Verbalizing (reading comprehension), Seeing Stars (reading/decoding), Barton (reading/decoding), On Cloud Nine (math), Singapore Math, and many more.
For Information about our summer programs please contact us at email@example.com or call 319-626-2553 for information about North Liberty Programs and 515-419-4270 for information about Urbandale Programs.
Megan Hughes is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offer a unique group, the Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP). At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
1210 Jordan Street, Suite 2A
North Liberty, IA 52317
2570 106th Street, Suite E
Urbandale, IA 50322