TROY — While summer months are great for students to cut loose and engage in outdoor recreation, the “summer slide” could be affecting the education they received throughout the regular school year.
“Summer slide” is a phenomenon in which a student’s academic gains from the previous school year are lost over time, due to a lapse in ongoing education.
“The break from the classroom can be very detrimental to reading and math skills,” said Joy Hules, director of A+ Tutoring, LLC in Troy.
According to Hules, a summer-long dormancy from learning can cause a child to effectively lose up to two months of math skills and three months of reading skills.
“It’s pretty significant, if you think about it,” Hules said. “Over the course of a child’s education of 13 years, if your child doesn’t work on skills every summer, they can start to experience huge gaps in their learning and slide farther and farther down.
“That’s why it’s important for them to get that summer help. Even as kids get older, you don’t want them to have those gaps, especially if they struggle in certain areas.”
A+ Tutoring, now in its third year of operation, aims to curb the effect of “summer slide” every summer, offering up ongoing programs with certified tutors that train students in pre-kindergarten skills all the way up to ACT preparation.
“At our learning center, we offer lots of different options,” Hules said. “Each program is very customized for each child. For some kids, it’s a great chance to pick up skills that they weren’t caught up on through the school year. There often isn’t lots of time to catch up through the school year, because the curriculum has to keep moving on.”
Hules also cited five points of action for parents who want to take extra measures with their children during the summer months:
1.) Designate a scheduled amount of time every day.
Hules emphasized the importance of setting aside a “scheduled amount of time each day for a child to complete math, reading, or whichever subject they’re studying. For example, 20 minutes after lunch each day could be set aside for study time.”
2.) Reward your child.
“Some people say, ‘I want my child to be intrinsically motivated’,” Hules said, “But I ask parents, ‘Do you want to go work and not get a paycheck?’ Even adults want to be rewarded for their hard work, so kids do, too.” Hules cited such examples as getting ice cream or going to the park as good ways to reward a child for their study habits.
3.) Stay positive.
Continued positive reinforcement can help in maintaining a child’s interest to learn.
“Even if your child is down about his or her abilities, they need to know someone believes in them,” Hules insisted. “As a parent, thats a great opportunity. Just letting them know that you believe they can do it will be a help to them.”
4.) Get creative.
“Turn the TV on, but instead of watching the show and listening, turn on closed captioning, so they’ll have to read to watch the show,” Hules said. “For math, go outside and make a hopscotch game with multiplication facts. You can make bingo games with things they’re studying. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s about keeping things fun, and there are many fun things that you can do.”
5.) Be consistent.
Hules insisted that one of the most important values to prevent “summer slide” lies not just in setting up a plan, but sticking to it.
“Don’t change the plan — stay on course,” Hules said. “With hard work, your child will likely make a two-month jump instead of a two-month slide. If you want to try things at home, it’s important to stay consistent. It does pay off.”
Hules hopes to emphasize the importance of education for children, not just as a preventative measure for “summer slide,” but as a long-term tool to navigate life.
“Education is one gift in life that nobody can ever take away,” Hules said. “People can take things away all the time. The repo man can come take your car. You can find yourself in a situation where you’re down and out, but nobody can take the smarts out of your brain. I would like parents to know it’s such a great gift. Instead of giving your child something, give the gift of education. It’s a gift that will keep on giving.”
For more information, visit www.alicensedtutor.com, or find A+ Tutoring on Facebook.