This virus has upended everyone’s lives and created new norms of social distancing, shortages, business closures and closed schools. As schools work to create structured learning for their students under very challenging conditions student learning can begin to slide as it does with The Summer Slide. Summertime is synonymous for many students as a time to kick back, indulge in a little extra screen time, sleep in, play outside, and enjoy the kind of freedom that one only gets as a young person without any responsibilities. While breaks can be a great time for students to recharge, spend time with family, and take on new hobbies, it can also lead to a regression in academic skills known as “The Summer Slide”.

Who is at Risk?

Younger children are more prone to learning loss because they are at a crucial developmental stage. Students who are not academically engaged or challenged during a single summer can lose about two to three months of reading skills and two months of math skills. Middle schoolers are particularly at risk as they are old enough to be left alone, but not old enough to make consistently good choices. By middle school, a student can lose two years of learning to The Summer Slide. The loss is greater at higher grade levels. Two-thirds of the 9th-grade reading achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during elementary school. This achievement gap is a major determinant of whether students graduate high school and enter college..

Middle school is a critical time for students as they work to develop their own identities, confront physical changes, and face new social pressures. 

What Can Parents Do to Help?

Ask yourself what it is your kids like to do; what are they interested in? There are on-line resources and ideas to fit every interest. One of the best ways to motivate kids is to let them read books they find interesting. Provide books or on-line books that are matched to your child’s interest and reading levels and ask them about what they’re reading. 

Help your kids build NEW SKILLS. By shifting their focus from memorization to areas like problem-solving, creativity, and if-then thinking, kids and teens are encouraged to engage with complex problems and come up with logical solutions. STEM skill-building challenges students to think differently and through a hands-on manner versus what they’re accustomed to doing when reading and memorizing from a textbook. 

Introduce kids to something new, in hopes that it turns into a passion. Something “new” can be something “fun” if it aligns with their existing interests. Studies show that developing hobbies and interests, like coding or writing music, can improve their cognitive skills, concentration, determination, and even develop their personality.

However, even the most involved kids and teens face summer boredom after a few weeks without structured activities in place. A summer learning program can be the perfect solution to help students retain the academic and social skills they acquired during the school year. A meaningful summer experience helps kids learn important life lessons while having fun and making new friends.

The Compass Academy Network was created as a one-of-a-kind fun summer learning program that helps middle schoolers stay stimulated, maintain a fresh learning mindset, and a newfound inspiration to keep researching and reading, learning and doing, even while out of school. Through our partnerships with local schools and our dedicated team of educators and mentors, we give students new opportunities for increased success. If you or your child are interested in learning more about our no-cost summer school program, please contact us today at compassacademynetwork.org!