This guest blog is by my colleague, best friend, and amazing educational therapist, Nancy Platt Dawud. She was so gracious to share some amazing summer resources with all of us.
What is the COVID 19 Summer Slide?For many, it feels like a victory to have simply made it to the end of the academic year. As we applaud students’ achievements and recognize their resilience and flexibility in handling a novel situation, we also have an eye to autumn and the coming academic year. While we can’t yet predict what “school” will look like in September, we can help support our students throughout the summer months to ensure that the skills they have, don’t recede and weaken. According to a recent study, between sixty-two to 78% of students lose academic skills over the summer months. The disruptions caused during the spring of 2020 may have wiped out an estimated 50% of gains for the academic year, and recovering, for many students, will be difficult.
What are the Best Resources for Summer Reading?Reading daily is one of the best ways to maintain and grow basic language skills. Over a typical summer, students lose 30% of their reading//language arts abilities. Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension (textual and subtextual) are skills that weaken when not practiced.
- If you have a reluctant reader, try pairing audiobooks with the print (or digital) version of the book. Listening to the audiobook while simultaneously following the text in a paper or digital version helps support and develop decoding and increase tracking speed, while maintaining one's place in the story.
- If you’re planning a road trip, consider selecting an audiobook for the entire family to listen to. Turn it into a game by asking your kids to visualize the story in their mind as they’re listening and (important!) compare imagined imagery.
- Audible (Amazon) has a great collection, but if you don’t have a subscription, put your tax dollars to use and utilize the huge catalog of downloadable materials provided free through your public library. Simply borrow both versions (print or digital print) as well as the e-audio. Download them, and you’re good to go.
- If your child has a print-based disability, with help from a professional (like us), they can obtain a subscription to Bookshare or Learning Ally.
- If your kids don’t know what to read next, go to your local library's website and use the databases NovelList Plus for K-8 or What Should I Read Next. Brightly and Reading Rockets also have great suggestions.
What are the Best Suggestions for Summer Math?Losing ground in math is even more of a problem over the summer. On average, students lose 2.6 months of skills, and the “COVID slide” losses will likely be much more severe. Losses in math tend to outpace losses in reading over summer months, as reading clubs and required summer reading is more common school requirements. A recent study estimated that the academic losses from COVID-19 will lead to a 50% loss of math gains for many students, and for some grades, a full year’s academic gains will be lost. Help your child hold onto their knowledge with games and resources like:
- help out in the kitchen with baking and cooking (triple the oatmeal cookie recipe?),
- break down a budget
- estimate mileage and gas consumption on the next road trip.
- help with the supermarket shopping - ask them to check the prices of your items and keep a running tally of how much you’re spending as you go along (addition and working memory, cha-ching!). If they’re more independent, split the list with them and send them off on their own, while also keeping a running tab in their head about how much their basket is going to cost. If they like to compete, keep a running total for your own half of the list as well, and at the register, ask for a subtotal per cart to see who’s closest. For an added challenge, don’t forget to estimate the sales tax!
What Are the Best Resources and Suggestions for Summer Science?Summer break is also a great time to learn or practice science in a more organic way. With great weather, children can spend hours outside discovering nature. No matter the neighborhood or environment, life typically flourishes during summer. Discovering biomes, microbiomes, learning about weather patterns, or the stars overhead, it’s all easier during vacation time. For a few fun science shows, check out:
What Are Some Resources and Suggestions for Talking about Racism and Racial Equality?Many of us may be staying a bit closer to home this summer, but we’re living through a unique period of history, as evidenced by the ongoing public discussions around racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The conversations about this issue may not be easy, and some kids may not know a lot about how our country has gotten to this point. For books to help you and your kids put it all in perspective consider:
- The New York Times collected recommendations from teachers and librarians
- Multnomah County Library has gathered a community-curated list for more mature readers.
- To help young children begin to understand what racism is and how it affects people, consider sharing: Sesame Street Racism Town Hall.
- For older kids, think about showing them: Privilege/Class/Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race
- Anti-Racist Resources - an open-sourced curriculum of resources - videos, books, podcasts, and actionable ideas.
Cheers, Nancy Platt Dawud and Dr. Erica WarrenDr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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2020 Erica Warren LLC. All rights reserved. Dr. Warren does not provide medical advice or diagnoses.