How to stop the 'summer slide' - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

How to stop the 'summer slide'

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA

As schools in the Panhandle prepare for summer break, many educators are worried their students will forget what they learned this spring.

This phenomenon is known as 'the summer slide' and has been documented by researchers at Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

Every time a student falls behind, the gap in knowledge among classmates grows, which puts additional pressure on teachers of higher grades.

"It's getting harder and harder for teachers and students as you go up each grade level," Dean Birkes, the principal of Willow Vista Intermediate. "The teachers are expecting the students to have the knowledge and be able to use it pretty confidently in September."

Math is a subject where students are most likely to fall behind. Over the summer, a student can lose more than 2 and half months worth of classroom material.

This becomes particularly problematic with math because this subject requires students to build on prior knowledge.

Despite the fact students are far more likely to pick up a book than practice math problems, educators say there are easy ways to keep your child up to date.

"It can be as easy as offering to pay with currency instead of a credit card and asking your child how much you're going to get in change," said Michael Haxton, the Center Director for Mathnasium. "Cooking is a great time to work on fractions, if you're doubling or halving a recipe, it can make math a lot more fun."

Haxton specializes in helping kids with math and has researched the summer slide. During the summer months, he recommends using games and activities to teach math rather than standards worksheets.

The summer slide can accumulate over the course of a child's education. 

By the time they reach 8th grade, they can have lost a full year's worth of class time. On top of causing a student to receive poor grades, it can also hurt a child's self esteem and motivation.

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