A girl riding her bike looking at illustrations of books

The school year is coming to a close, and that means summer is almost here. Students are about to take a well-earned break from their studies; however, this can also impact their academic knowledge retention. As an educator, your awareness of “summer slide” could potentially help students by curbing this impact.

Summer slide, or summer learning loss, refers to the tendency of students to forget some of their academic progress from the school year during the summer break. Extensive research has demonstrated students’ achievement scores drop after summer vacation, with an average decline of about one month of school learning. David Quinn and Morgan Polikoff, both assistant professors at the University of Southern California, have confirmed these findings.

So, how can this be combated? We’ve rounded up a few ways you can help ensure students remain educationally engaged throughout the summer.

1. Read, read, read!

Reading is one of the most effective ways to prevent summer slide. Encourage students to read regularly over the summer, and provide them with access to books they will enjoy. Many libraries have summer reading programs that make reading fun and rewarding for kids. Some schools or teachers assign summer reading, which helps keep students’ minds active, and gives something for students and teachers to connect on when they return from break.

Be sure to also check out Edulastic’s Spark Reading resources to help “spark” a love of literature among students even when they aren’t in class! Our Spark ELA offerings cover popular school literature, so if students are reading a book over the summer, you might want them to complete SparkBook assignments to process the content and become more engaged in the literature.

2. Customize summer homework

With Edulastic you can create a 21st-century summer packet for your students. Educators can provide students with online practice and immediate feedback and can keep tabs on progress. You can assign summer reading or other work specific to what they want students to know and that is aligned to the standards they want students to master. Include passages and other multimedia to help make the material more interesting than a printed-out and stapled-together summer packet.

Edulastic playlists are a fantastic way to you can break up the work into different assignments and choose to make them available all at once, or schedule them all to open and close at specific times throughout the summer. Just make sure your packet is being shared with students in an especially established class with an end/archive date that overlaps with the beginning of the next school year (if you don’t, the class will be archived and students will be blocked from viewing the packet). 

Using Edulastic, you can provide written feedback to students once they’ve submitted their work. But make sure to give yourself a break from grading this summer and let Edulastic’s autograding tools score the work and give students that instant feedback! In addition, you might upload videos with each question so you can post video lectures with refreshers or new material. Best of all, accounts are free for teachers. If you are new to Edulastic, register today for your free account!

3. Make it challenging – and fun!

It’s summer break! So, in the spirit of summer, consider encouraging in ways that are engaging and even fun. Encourage learners to use websites and educational apps that provide game-like learning experiences, such as Giant Steps. Teachers can create timed assessments on Edulastic, adding an element of urgency to the learning experience. Students can race against the clock to complete assessments, which can make the learning process more engaging and exciting. Include some fun assessments in summer homework to ensure learners get a brain break. You can even set an assignment up so students can share their summer projects or journal.

Preventing summer slide can help students on their learning trajectory as they transition from one grade to the next, and there are many effective strategies for combating it. Encouraging students to read, customizing summer homework, and making learning fun are all great ways to keep students engaged and motivated during the summer months. By using resources like Edulastic, teachers can provide their students with personalized learning experiences, including immediate feedback. With these tools, students can continue to make progress and return to school in the fall refreshed from summer break, while also ready to build on their academic achievements from the previous year.