5 Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide:

by Heather

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains a few affiliate links. Regardless, all thoughts and opinions expressed are still 100% my own.

Have you heard of the Summer Slide? Let’s chat!

Summer is here! It’s time to take a break from learning six plus hours a day and indulge in some extra fun. Pool parties, grilling, picnics, vacations or staycations, and sleeping in late. Or my daughter’s favorites, going to the grocery store (yes, she thinks this is an adventure) and unplanned popcorn and movie nights are some of our favorites. I mean, summer is the perfect time to set the books aside and veg out, right?

Maybe not!

According to research from Reading Is Fundamental, students who do not read over the summer can lose as much as 22% of their reading level. That means two months of school, down the drain. So if our little ones aren’t reading, what other knowledge that they obtained through the school year are they losing?

If you have encouraged your child(ren) to read throughout the summer, awesome! If not, there is still time to get them back in the groove before the next school year begins. It’s time to bridge the gap.

Summer Slide

Here are our 5 tips on how to avoid the summer slide!



Reading is a fundamental part of our child’s education. The more they read the easier it will be for them to identify words and understand the basic meaning behind the word. Think about how much easier everything else will be once your child has a secure grasp of reading. From word problems to social studies facts, reading is important and supports a great foundation of knowledge.

During or Meet the Teacher event last year, our daughter’s second grade teacher provided us with a handout about reading (Nagy & Herman, 1987). The visual was staggering. There was a lot of information but we will keep it simple!

If a child reads 20 minutes each day throughout the school year, they will have read 3600 minutes or approximately 1,800,000 words by the end of the year. What about if a child reads 5 minutes each day throughout the school year? They will have read 900 minutes or approximately 282,000 words by the end of the year. Then there is this one … if a child reads 1 minute each day throughout the school year, they will have read 180 minutes or approximately 8,000 words by the end of the year.

Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary? Which student would you expect to be more successful in school … and in life?

So what can you do? Easy! Have your little one read every day. Be it a book, recipe, or menu, every word counts and you are helping them build a stronger knowledge base.

Visit a local library and check out books for free, head to a secondhand store and grab books or audios on the cheap, swap great reads with friends, or even read a book and then watch the movie version. The possibilities are endless; all you have to do is use your imagination!



We started second grade strong, our daughter was reading, had no problems with math, and was eager to learn more and more. That is why we were shocked when a parent conference was requested to discuss some of the struggles she was having with math. We were doing math homework every night and practicing facts but then she would go into school, take timed tests (which she is not a fan of) and was falling behind.

We all know how worrisome this can be when it comes to a subject like math. Things can progress quickly in the classroom and we went from learning addition to subtraction in a matter of days. Add in money, measuring, and telling time and suddenly everything seems confusing. By the end of the year we were on the multiplication and our little was still a little slow. It was time to beef up the routine!

Is your little one(s) struggling with math? This may help!

Before the end of the year, we were able to obtain copies of math facts that would allow us to work on not only accuracy but speed. Yes, speed is a part of everything these days so it was necessary for us to focus on this as well.

We made flashcards that would allow us to help our daughter build on sight and sound; see the problem, know the answer. We started with a small stack and would add new cards as she perfected her sight and answer.

The teacher suggested we pick up a school approved workbook so she could build over the summer so we did that but there is also a FREE option. We were pointed to a program called XtraMath that allows children to increase speed and accuracy in arithmetic. This program allows our daughter to maintain and improve her skills for the next school year. XtraMath is available through the app store for $5 or it can be used on a laptop or desktop computer for free by going here. {I am not an affiliate for this company; it has just helped our daughter!}



Our daughter has always loved writing. I have lost count of the number of notebooks and journals she has lying around the house. She is great at telling stories and even draws pictures but sometimes it’s hard to follow along based on her writing and punctuation.

I remember learning to perfect my print and how to start writing in cursive in second grade. I don’t remember grammar, complete thoughts, or run-on sentences being extremely important at that level but guess what, things have changed and they are now!

The easiest way to work on your child’s writing skills is to … have them write!

Give your little one a prompt or a story idea and have them sit down, without interruptions, for 10 to 15 minutes and write. Remind them that it is important for their story to have a beginning, middle, and end. I even tell my daughter when she has about 5 minutes left so she can start wrapping up her ideas.

Once she is done writing, we sit down and discuss what she has written about. First, I have her read the story to me, which allows us to get in a little more reading time. Of course I laugh or frown at all the appropriate times and then we discuss! I give her my thoughts on the story and ask questions. This tells her that I am interested in what she is doing and what she has to say. Then, I go back and review her writing with her and point out any mistakes that were made, in a constructive way, so she can make improvements or adjustments next time.

This is a great way for us to work together on a short project that is not only showing my daughter how important she, her thoughts, and her education is to me BUT it allows me to see how vivid her imagination is and it always amazes me!

As an added bonus, I encourage her to illustrate the story once we have looked everything over so she can show it to her daddy when he gets home from work!



Ladies and gents, this is one of my favorites! SCIENCE!! This is where we get to take a real hands-on approach to learning and I absolutely love it!

There are Science Kits for Kids all over Amazon that range anywhere from around $10 to upwards of $100 dollars. I’ve even found a few at our local Sam’s Club and Costco. These kits are great but they really aren’t necessary. A basic Google search or search will provide you with great ideas at a fraction of the cost. You may find easy projects that you can do with things you already have at home or after a quick run to the grocery store.

Doing small experiments with your little one(s) that only take a short time are the perfect way to engage your child, get them thinking, and encourage them to explore the wonder of science. As you go through the experiment/project, explain what is going on and have your little one(s) predict what will happen. Add a little fun by letting everyone wear one of daddy’s oversized white work shirts so you all have on your lab coats.

Imagination + learning = FUN … and Science IS fun!



I’ve saved the best for last … Imagination at Play!

Not all learning has to consist of sitting at a desk or working an experiment. Urging your little one(s) to use their imagination and create something is important, too.

From playing dress up to asking 20 (or in my daughter’s case, at least 50) questions is a great way to get your little one’s mind going. This will keep them alert, eager, and engaged.

Yesterday, we played a round of twenty questions. My daughter said she wanted to “learn more about me,” which was kind of comical since she knows me so well. I had her come up with the questions and then I answered each one enthusiastically. She wrote each answer on a Post-It note, displayed them on our wall, and then analyzed my answers once we were done.

Even more fun is when she wants to put on a play! Allow your kid(s) to take a stroll through your closet and find an outfit that interests them. Then, have them create a character and put on a short play. This can be as quick as five minutes or up to thirty if your little one(s) is anything like mine! This is great fun to break up the day to day goings-on when we are stuck at home due to rain. Sometimes we even plan the play, practice, and then she puts on the show for daddy when he gets home from work.

These are just a couple of examples of what we do but again, the possibilities are endless … just like your little one’s imagination!

We hope that these 5 tips will help you and your little one(s) prepare for the coming school year. It’s important to avoid the dreaded “Summer Slide!”

Do you have any tips of your own? We welcome suggestions in the comment area below!



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larescoe August 9, 2018 - 12:45 pm
These are great tips, thanks for sharing! We homeschool but I still take a Summer break, so we still struggle to get back into routine.
Emily Ann Benzing August 10, 2018 - 6:53 pm
I don't have children, but these are some great tips. I love reading about kids and learning as much as I can before I have them!
Emily Benzing August 11, 2018 - 10:05 pm
As a kid in summer, I still loved learning! I always used to get activity books and enjoy filling them out. I hope kids these days still like to do that!
Casey Garvey August 11, 2018 - 11:27 pm
The summer slide is never a good thing. My kids play learning games all summer to stay up to date!
Emily Benzing August 12, 2018 - 12:15 pm
Summer is for fun, but also for learning and still keeping that brain active. I love seeing young ones continue to develop their skills in and out of school.
Casey Garvey August 12, 2018 - 10:33 pm
Reading is fundamental! We do a reading summer program at the local library!
Casey Garvey August 13, 2018 - 11:33 pm
Writing is something that I notice more than spelling slide in the summer months. My daughters handwriting always seems to get better as the school year progresses
Casey Garvey August 20, 2018 - 10:59 pm
My oldest loves to visit the library weekly for books! She has her own card and all!
Casey Garvey August 21, 2018 - 7:03 pm
Imaginative play is one of the most important things to keep encouraging over the summer in my home! If we dont our oldest would just set on his video game all day, and thats definitley how you slide down in the summer!
Denise Low August 21, 2018 - 7:35 pm
Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the great tips.
Casey Garvey August 22, 2018 - 10:31 pm
We try to play and learn. If the kids dont see it as work, their a lot more willing!
LAURA COOK-DENNARD August 24, 2018 - 10:03 am
Great tips - thank you!
Mia Rose August 25, 2018 - 5:47 pm
Visiting the library has been helpful to my grandkids as a way to keep up on reading skill through the summer and giving them notebooks to keep a journal about some of their summer adventures also helps.,
Casey Garvey August 26, 2018 - 10:15 am
Math and writing is the 2 subjects our kids fight most against doing over the summer months. I can get them to play spelling games in the car some days!
Casey Garvey August 28, 2018 - 9:17 pm
Were planning our first vacation over labor day. I am trying to incorporate a way for the kids to learn and have fun on our trip.
Antoinette M August 30, 2018 - 3:33 pm
Great tips!
Denise Low September 1, 2018 - 9:28 pm
Thank you for the great tips.They all are very important.
Casey Garvey September 1, 2018 - 11:58 pm
My kids just went back to school for the year! Im not sure who was more excited, us or them?!
Casey Garvey September 2, 2018 - 1:56 pm
My step son didnt do anything over the summer to learn. He is in 4th grade and forgot his writing!
gloria patterson September 2, 2018 - 5:57 pm
NO kids..... This is one of the reason I am all for year round schools. A lot of kids lose some much learning in a 2 1/2+ months time off. Some parents do make them plan time to learn. But it is hard if parents work and kids are bored.
Michelle Simmonds Ayers September 2, 2018 - 10:32 pm
The schools in ny area they do more writing than studying other subjects.
Paige Cassandra Flamm July 31, 2019 - 2:35 pm
Writing is definitely something we haven't even thought of this summer! We need to get working on that! Paige http://thehappyflammily.com
Kara Marks June 7, 2023 - 12:30 am
These are really good ideas.

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