Any experienced teacher knows that the summer slide is a definite reality for many students. I personally like for my own children to take a break over the summer and be kids; however, I know the importance of ensuring they maintain their reading level and math skills for the next grade level.
I want to share with you five ways that you can help prevent summer slide with your students.
1. Hook your students on a book and then send a copy of the book home with each student.
One super effective way to prevent the summer slide is to make sure the students are reading during the summer. The best way I have found to do this is to purchase a class set of books (I usually buy the $1 books from the Scholastic Book Fairs). Before giving the books to my students, I read the first few chapters and get them hooked. At this point, they are invested and engaged in the book, but they have to read the book to find out the rest of the events. When they find out they are getting a copy of the book, they love it. I have found that this is far more effective than just presenting them with a book, especially with reluctant readers.
2. Send home a summer review that is not overwhelming.
In the past, I have been guilty of letting a few reluctant students keep me from sending home optional summer or holiday review. My first few years of teaching, I was quick to assume that because those reluctant (and often vocal) students didn’t want or care about review, then none of my students did. However, that is just not the case. I always have a good chunk of students who are eager to learn and practice. With these students in mind, I use a summer review that is not overwhelming or tedious even for those reluctant students.
The review I use is broken up into 8 weeks. Each week is further divided into five days (Monday through Friday only). For the reading review, each day contains one question or response task for their summer book. The math review has 2-4 math questions per day. The review is conveniently formatted into a two page “calendar type” format. Print each page and then copy them back to front to have a quick no fuss review to send home with your students. There is also a response booklet in each file if you would like to send that home as well.
Click on the links below to check out the summer review packs in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
Summer Reading Review for Upper Elementary
Summer Math Review for 4th Grade
Summer Math Review for 5th Grade
3. Purchase a deck of cards and teach your students several ways to review with the cards.
Another idea to help prevent summer slide is to purchase a deck of cards for each of your students. Then provide them with a page of review activities or games that can be completed using the deck of cards. I like to send home activities that are independent and some that are partner based.
Click here to grab the free download of card games and math review with a deck of cards that I send home with my students.
4. Provide a list of websites that the students can use to keep their skills strong.
This next idea is perfect if you teach in an area where all your students have access to computers, tablets, or even a smart phone. Before the students leave for the summer, send a list of websites that you recommend they visit to practice skills or just continue learning. Here are some of my favorite websites for summer review:
5. Prevent summer slide in writing by encouraging your students to write in journals.
One of my end of year gifts is often a journal for my students. I encourage my students to use this journal to write about their summer adventures or to write a fiction novel over the course of the summer. I always refer to it as a journal so I don’t turn off the boys. I also encourage them to sketch drawings to accompany their writing as well. This definitely motivates my boys to write more. If they bring it to me the next year to read, I make sure I read it and give them glowing feedback.
I know as teachers are hands are often tied as far as how much are students read or practice over the summer. However, these are just a few simple ways that I try to encourage my students to continue reading and learning to prevent summer slide from being too drastic.
How do you encourage your students to continue learning during the summer months?
Catherine Jeffers says
Jennifer, I just want you to know how much I truly enjoy your blogs. Thank you for so many wonderful ideas!
Jennifer Findley says
Thank you so much, Catherine! This little blog of mine takes time but I truly enjoying sharing ideas and tips. Your comment makes it even that much more enjoyable!