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3 Ways to Stop the Summer Slide

Do you know about the “Summer Slide”? It’s the phenomenon of students losing some of their newly acquired knowledge and skills over summer break. And elementary students are most at risk for experiencing this!

So what can we do to help?

3 Ways to Stop the Summer Slide

Luckily, there are a lot of simple things you can do to help students avoid that Summer Slide.

  1. READ! This is the easiest and most important thing you can do to support kids during the summer. If you’re a parent, offer lots of reading material options for them. Encourage and allow them to read whatever they want! If you’re a teacher, offer printable passages or printable books and recommend websites (like Epic!) if they have access to technology.
  2. Review! You don’t need to worry about introducing new concepts over the summer. But definitely do lots of review! Daily “spiral” review is one of the most effective ways to help students move their learning from short term to long term memory. Every time kids retrieve information from their memories it becomes easier to recall that information in the future. And the best part? Review is so easy to implement! Just a few minutes a day spent reviewing will pay off big.
  3. Play! There are so many fun ways to practice educational concepts and review skills while playing. Math card games, sight word games, phonics games, critical thinking games are great ideas. But also let them have lots of free play! Free play lets them use their imagination, problem solve, strengthen motor skills, and have sensory experiences. As Mr. Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.

What We’re Doing to Stop the Summer Slide at Home

I thought it might be helpful to share what I’m doing with my 3 kids at home. For reference, we spend about 20 minutes a day (not including reading time which happens throughout the day) doing school activities. Some days it doesn’t happen but because we keep the time frame short, we can fit it in easily most days.

For my preschooler:

  • Letter Name Fluency practice – We started doing this more consistently in March and she went from knowing only a handful of capital letters consistently to knowing almost all of them in about two months! Now we’re starting lowercase letter names while reviewing a handful of random capital letters every day too.
  • Kindergarten Morning Work – My daughter is only 4 and still has one year of preschool so I’m not rushing her into the full daily spiral review just yet. But we’re starting to do the beginning pages that start slow and will do part of a page each day until she’s ready to do a whole page each day.
  • Todo Math – I LOVE this app. It’s tailored to what the player actually knows and doesn’t move them forward in concepts until they’ve demonstrated mastery. Every day there’s a learning path of activities to complete and it takes less than 10 minutes to do. Plus it’s fun!
  • Learn with Homer – Another favorite app that I’ve used with my kids for years. Like Todo Math, Homer is tailored to the students and provides a daily path of activities. The path on this one takes a little bit longer to get through and sometimes my daughter gets tired of doing it before the path is done.
  • Subitizing practice – Heidi and I teach preschool now, as you may know, and we like to do a fun subitizing activity with the kids. We hold up a picture with an arrangement of 1-10 items (like pigs in a mud puddle) and ask the kids to use their mental cameras to take a picture. The kids make a camera click sound and then the picture goes away. Then we ask them to share how many they saw and how they saw it (“I saw 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom and I know that’s 4.”) I do this often at home with my 4 year old. I use the subitizing cards from Build Math Minds for this.

For my kindergarten grad:

  • Segmenting and Blending Fluency  – My son is already a good reader but sometimes he gets sloppy when he encounters new words he can’t guess so I’m taking them time to have him work through all the segmenting and blending fluency homework so he really works on those phonemic awareness skills.
  • 1st Grade Fluency Homework – Because I want this time to be helping him build fluent reading skills, I pick a level of passages that he can read with at least 95% accuracy. If he has to focus more energy than that on reading accurately, he can’t appropriately focus on the other fluent reading skills we’re trying to build.
  • 1st Grade Morning Work – I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this on the list since we’re so passionate about spiral review! A few minutes a day packs a big punch.
  • Todo Math – My son is a math lover and has been a huge fan of this app for years. At some point he reset his progress so he could start again at the beginning!
  • Phonics Games – We alternate between a game that’s introducing a new phonics game for him and playing games that cover concepts he’s already familiar with.

For my 4th grade grad:

  • 3rd Grade Morning Work – Because it’s on the rigorous side and the review is really good for her particular learning needs, we’re working on pages from the end of the year in the 3rd grade morning work set.
  • 4th Grade Fluency Homework – Again, our goal is building fluency skills with this activity so she practices reading on passages that are in her independent reading level (meaning she can read them with at least 95% accuracy).
  • Brain Quest Summer Review – She really likes these brain quest workbooks so if we have time she likes to spend time on this too.
  • Reflex Math – This is her favorite app for practice fact fluency. We don’t do this every day but often.
  • Adventure Academy – This is her favorite educational app so she usually chooses to spend her app time playing this game.

Summer Review Bundles

If you like what I’m doing at home with my kids, then the summer review bundles will help you get started with a similar routine!

Teachers – If you’re looking for resources to send home for your students over the summer, we’ve got you covered! There are 10 weeks of spiral review pages, phonics games, reading passages, and more.

Parents – We’ll help you stop that summer slide! This bundle of resources is full of fun and meaningful activities for your students preparing for a new grade.


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After a combined 14 years in 2nd grade, sisters Heidi & Emily are passionate about helping simplify life for other teachers!

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