How children can avoid the 'summer slide' in an unusual year

Be a reading hero and inspire a future champion
Posted at 9:08 AM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 19:44:25-04

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (NBC 26) -- The school bells of the 2019-20 school year rang for the final time in March.

Since then, Netta Dorsey and her daughter Adelaide have been learning at home.

“It was a challenge for sure," Dorsey said. “Kindergarten is when they really take off with reading, but I was honestly kind of worried about her.”

Thousands of other families were put in the same situation when the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools. By the end of summer break, kids will have been out of the classroom for around five months. Experts say that time away could make what's known as the 'summer slide' worse than usual. That's where children lose some of their development gains from the previous school year.

“This is a really important time for families to enroll their kids and continue some of that learning because it’s been an interesting year with learning being interrupted for the year," Lisa Johnson, Green Bay Area Public School District coordinator of extended learning, said.

Johnson said there are a few ways to help combat the summer slide. She recommends children enroll in summer school. This year, some of that curriculum is focused on unfinished learning from the previous year.

“We have some learning that we need to continue to work on with our kids," Johnson said.

Another strategy to help families is to read. That's one area, along with math, where the summer slide can be more significant.

“Reading is really key thing to help kids with their learning," Johnson said. "Just continuing to get into that text and pick a book that the kids really like to read or subject areas they like to read or read for fun. Anything they can do to read is an important thing to continue so they don’t have the summer slide over the summer.”

Johnson recommends parents try to make reading fun for their children. Rewards and incentives can also be a way to get children into a book.

Dorsey said they've been reading at home, and it's been helpful.

“I feel like she’s really overcome a lot with this pandemic and not being able to go to school," she said.