Tips for preventing the summer slide

Most people will agree that the summer slide is real, and something that all parents and caregivers should try to avoid. This year is no different; in fact, this summer is even more important than ever to ensure children regain the skills they learned throughout the previous school year.

The summer slide is known as the period of time throughout the summer when children lose their school knowledge from the previous year. Due to COVID-19, kids across Canada have been off school since March, and in most provinces and territories, kids won’t be going back until the fall.

This means that children will experience the longest break from school in a lifetime, with up to six months away from formal learning. While parents are doing their best to homeschool, there’s no question that children are losing out on valuable learning experiences from a full-time school setting.

Research shows that students lose about one month’s worth of school-year learning due to summer vacation. With six months away from school due to the pandemic and summer, children could possibly lose three month’s worth of school-time learning, meaning they may not be prepared to cope with lessons in the next grade and possibly fall behind.

Further studies show that the extent of learning loss is larger at higher grade levels and declines are sharper in subjects like math as opposed to reading. Additionally, summer loss is greater among disadvantaged communities and low-income families.[1]

The best way to combat the summer slide is to ensure children spend time every day practising their literacy skills. Spending at least 15 minutes a day doing a learning activity such as following a recipe, playing a board game or even visiting a park together as a family can help beat the summer slide.

ABC Life Literacy Canada has a large selection of free family literacy resources available to help combat the summer slide. Check out these perfect summer activities from the HSBC Family Literacy First program:

    1. My Perfect Campground: Design the perfect campground for you and your family with this creative worksheet.
    2. My Family Tree: Every family is different. What does your family look like? Draw your family tree using this template.
    3. Going on a Camping Trip: Learn and sing this campfire chant about camping.
    4. Finger Puppet Zoo: Have you ever wanted your own zoo? Create finger puppets of your favourite zoo animals!
    5. Family Grocery Shopping: Practice math and numeracy by determining how much you’ll need to budget for your family grocery shop.
    6. Kitchen Treasure Hunt: Look around your kitchen to find these common tools that are used when following a recipe
    7. Fruit Basket Dance: Moving around is good for you. So is using your imagination. This activity will help you do both while thinking about something else that’s good for you — fruit!
    8. What I see under the sea: Learn about popular things and animals that live under the sea.
    9. Ways to Earn Income: What summer jobs can you do to make money? Learn about your options as well as why income is important in life.
    10. Constellation Connection: Practice drawing stars that you see in the sky, like The Big Dipper and Equuleus.
    11. Finger Puppet Soccer: Make your own finger puppet soccer players and soccer field.

    These activities are just some of the many family literacy activities available at FamilyLiteracyFirst.ca. Create an account for free and get unlimited access to more than 80 fun family learning tools. Resources are available in English, French, Arabic, Tagalog and Simplified Chinese.

    HSBC Family Literacy First is a free program created by ABC Life Literacy Canada and supported by HSBC Bank Canada to bring parents and children together to practice family literacy.

    [1] https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/