Combating the Summer Slide in the Time of COVID-19

It is not an overstatement to say that the past few years amid the coronavirus pandemic have been a struggle. Fortunately, this new reality also presents an opportunity for parents and Educators to overcome a problem that has persistently plagued students during summer break: the summer slide.

Research shows that students can lose several months of knowledge over the summer break if they are not engaged in educational activities. This summer slide in achievement and knowledge is often higher for lower-income students who do not have the same access to resources.

While parents might have done things like visit museums or historical sites during summer vacation to keep their children engaged, today’s landscape of social distancing and shelter in place make those plans nearly impossible. Fortunately, parents have already taken on the task of educating their children while schools are closed and can keep up the momentum heading into the summer, as the same methods and tools they are currently utilizing to homeschool their kids can be used to help combat the summer slide.

Here are seven strategies schools can implement to keep students learning through the summer and prepare them for the return to school — even in the face of coronavirus concerns:

Have Teachers Assign Summer Projects

This can be a packet of worksheets or a list of free online resources that can help parents stay organized, and keep their children on track. Teachers can lay out a plan for practicing topics over the course of the summer and can even offer a perk for students who complete everything by the beginning of school.

Reduce the Risk of Drop-outs with a Credit Recovery and Remediation Summer Program

Provide middle school and high school students an intervention credit recovery program through real-time, online lessons from State-certified Educators. At-risk students will be in need of academic support to catch up to missed learning objectives. This tactic will significantly aid to prevent the widening of curriculum and achievement gaps.

Help High School Juniors and Seniors Prepare for Standardized Test-Taking

Juniors and seniors are especially hard hit during this time since state exams such as the ACCUPLACER, PSAT, SAT/ACT, Regents Review, and Advanced Placement have either been canceled or undergone reformatting. A summer program specifically designed to provide a comprehensive review of the exams will allow students to connect with experienced tutors who are content experts. Plus, they’ll have access to their recorded online sessions serving as a great study tool and will be administered practice tests to prepare them for the actual exams —whenever that time may come.

Give Students Access to STEM Activities

Social-emotional learning has also taken a hit from shelter in place mandates due to the coronavirus. STEM unleashes creative problem solving in teams with project-based learning. A summer STEM program can help exercise a different part of students’ brains during the summer months and combat the summer slide.

Check Out Local Community Centers, Museums, and Learning Centers Online

Consider this list of 50 online music and art activities for students or this list of 40 sites to help teach science. Many major museums offer virtual tours of their best exhibit halls. These free online tools can help students feel connected to the outside world and explore different subjects. 

Keep Supporting ESL and SPED Students

Any extra work a student can do to overcome a language barrier or disability during the summer months will also prepare them for returning to school in the fall. Online tutoring can help improve their social and emotional intelligence, as well as their overall learning skills, which will put at-need students in a better position to succeed once things return to normal.

Remind Parents of the Importance of Continuous Learning During the Summer Months

Automated email messaging services like Constant Contact are great ways to offer tips on curriculum, supportive resources, and how to keep the students engaged and passionate about learning.

Educate Parents on Open Educational Resources

There’s an abundance of educational apps that make learning fun. These apps will not only help students during the summer slide but could also help parents navigate the remaining months of the academic year while they’re still homeschooling.

Want more ideas on how to combat the summer slide through virtual learning? Learn more about iTutor’s Summer Programs.