Combating the Summer Slide

As the summer break quickly approaches in the Northeast I have come across various articles focusing on summer learning loss and the negative impact that time off has on students.  In 2010 Time Magazine published an article that clearly articulated The Case Against Summer Vacation.

 Even though there is a great deal of research on the loss of learning that occurs during the summer I am perplexed by the fact that many schools and parents are not doing more to prevent this.  Here is a video that shares some stark statistics as well as a few great strategies that parents can utilize at home.

As a district we have always assigned summer readings (view this years assignment here).  This year we are taking it a step further as we have developed assignments in both Language Arts and Mathematics to lessen the summer slide while retaining a focus on specific skills and concepts learned throughout the past school year.  The math assignments developed by my teachers can be found on our .  When I reminded the students of their summer assignments at our academic awards ceremony yesterday many parents in attendance began to clap and cheer. This provided some nice validation in terms of our shift towards implementing summer learning assignments.

As a result of a recent $10,000 donation to New Milford High School all students in grades 9-11 have access to Study Island in mathematics and language arts for the next three years.  Certain 12th grade AP students will also have access in the following AP courses: Chemistry, Biology, U.S. History, Calculus AB, English Language & Composition, and English Literature & Composition. The expectation going forward is that teachers will develop standards-based assignments for all students to sharpen and retain skills, review concepts, and get a taste for the content to be learned in upcoming courses.

I am really interested to learn what other schools and educators are doing with their students over the summer to reduce and/or prevent learning loss.  More importantly, how do we construct meaningful, relevant, engaging assignments that the students will want to complete? We all can agree that this is a major problem across our country that the traditional school calendar of 180 days has created for us.   If you have developed successful programs, projects, or assignments PLEASE SHARE!  In the meantime here are some articles that I have come across that present some great strategies for reducing summer learning loss:

Preventing the Summer Slide with DIY Tech and Science Projects

Using the Calendar gap to Narrow the Achievement Gap

Preventing the Summer Slide in Reading

National Summer Learning Association

Preventing the Summer Slide in Math Skills



  1. To help prevent the summer slide, I work closely with my faculty to create standard-based assessments through Edusoft. The Edusoft® Assessment Management System by Riverside publishing is web based and allows me to assign an assessment to students by password and I simply e-mail it to them. Once a week, our students are taking an assessment over standards they have mastered throughout the year. The students receive their score immediately after submitting the assessment. The great part is that every Sunday, with a click of a button, I have all the data and it is disaggregated for me. I know just how much understanding my students are retaining. You would be surprised how many students are excited about taking these assessments and how many students participate each week. At the beginning of the year, we will have an educated idea of where to successfully begin!

    June 20, 2011
  2. Katiecoppe said:

    For the past two summers I have visited students at their homes to deliver books. It has been great to see them and how excited they get! I don’t get to all of our students, I target the students who just made our benchmark or just missed it to try to keep them reading over the summer. Our community is very rural and public transportation to the library is not an option for our families. Our poverty rate over the past three years has shot up from 40% to 55% but in that time our overall achievement has improved.

    June 27, 2011
  3. I am the Parent Involvement Coordinator for Alpena Public Schools. I worked with some instructional coaches to develop math packets for all grade levels so we could try to maintain and even advance over the summer. They are available to the public at under the parent tab. Feel free to download and use them and I would love feedback from anyone that does.

    May 30, 2012

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