Battle the Summer Learning Slide

Battle the Summer Learning Slide

Over the 10 weeks children aren’t in school, they lose an average of two months’ grade equivalency in math and a similar amount in reading, according to a report from the National Summer Learning Association. Children from low income backgrounds may lose more.

There are simple things parents can do to combat lost learning and even prepare for the return to school in August. You don’t need to use every suggestion, but choosing one or two that suit your child will help.


Go shopping. Get children to help make the list and budget. Take a calculator and get them to add up items going in the cart. Ask questions like, “How much change you would get if…?” With younger children, play “shop” at home and make up simple prices for them to add up.

Find a book of problems and puzzles and use it for 10 minutes a day. Or use a free worksheet generator on the internet to create quick practice sheets for their grade level — is great for all subjects sorted by grade level.

There are dozens of free apps on Apple, Android, iOS and Kindle that are specifically for math practice, especially times tables.

Also check out sites like, which offers a free summer math program. Children take a quick quiz and complete activities to reinforce understanding at the appropriate grade level.

Great Lakes Science Center and the University of Akron, in addition to other local resources, offer STEM camps for math and science with hands-on activities from the real world.


Join your library’s summer reading program or you can follow the ABCs of reading:

Access: Give children access to books. Make it a social activity where the whole family reads daily, even if only for 10 minutes. Leading by example speaks louder than words.

Books: Make sure books are at the right level. Librarians can help or use the Five Finger Rule — open any page and ask your child to read a couple paragraphs out loud. Each time they come to a word that’s too difficult, put up a finger. Any more than five is too hard.

Comprehension: Ask about what they are reading. Get them to recap the plot or describe a character, or they could do a review with a star rating.

Get Outside Help

For an extra push, consider a tutor or academic coach. Some schools offer enrichment programs or look online for resources.

“It’s particularly important for students with learning disabilities or attention deficit issues to remain on track during the summer, and The Tutoring Center specializes in helping these students,” says Rhoda Konigsberg owner and center director of The Tutoring Center.

Sylvan Learning Centers also offer summer programs and online tutoring. If you’re in the Akron area, check out Step by Step Academic and Life Coaching ( Or visit or

If we don’t use a skill, it becomes rusty, or worse, we forget altogether. Employing simple techniques can help your children retain knowledge and skills, as well as help you structure their time.

Sara Baxter, BA, PGCE, CC, is an academic and life coach. She is the owner and founder of Step by Step Academic and Life Coaching, located in Cuyahoga Falls.



The following are some ways you can help your child learn during the summer months and send them back ready for the new school year from The National Summer Learning Association, a nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap through high-quality summer learning for all children and youth.

Keep a summer journal.

Have your children keep a journal about the books they are reading, their favorite summer events or activities, and the new friends they’ve made. Take trips to your local museum, aquarium, zoo, park or nature center. Encourage kids to write about their trips in their summer journal.

Plant a garden.

Start simple with a tomato container garden or fresh herbs grown on your kitchen window sill. It’s a great way to encourage healthy eating with your child.

Volunteer together.

Volunteering builds life skills and compassion. Help spruce up a school or local park, collect supplies for a shelter, or serve food at a soup kitchen.


 Top tips for Teens and  Tweens:

Plan a project. 

Does your child want to give his or her room a new look? Have them sketch out design ideas, plan a budget, calculate the area needed for paint, price materials and manage a timeline.

Make it social. 

Many tweens and teens want to spend free time with friends. Talk with the parents of your child’s friends and plan a group project or series of activities that involve reading, being outside to explore, or even brushing up on math through shopping, cooking or having a yard sale.

Talk about college 

and career. 

Summer is a great time to explore college and career options with your child. Visit college campuses. Connect your child with a mentor who works in a career that interests them. Help them write a resume. Find a summer internship or job with websites like

For more information, visit

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