Schools out! The bell rings, concluding the last day of school, and the students rush towards the buses. Students eagerly share their summer plans with their friends -- summer camp, countless trips to the beach, a day trip to an amusement park, endless play dates, perhaps some traveling, and some lazy days at home. Summer is a time for fun, games, and relaxation. Summer means NO SCHOOL, but should learning end on the last day of school? Year after year, it does. Worse, students lose between 20 and 50 percent of their school year achievement gains over summer break, returning to school in the fall with far fewer skills than they left with.
1. The summer slide is often associated with the summer reading gap, but it actually affects student math skills more severely.
The charts above are based on data from the 2015 NWEA MAP Normatives Report. The chart on the left shows the change in RIT score for students performing at the 50th percentile from Spring to Fall, demonstrating loss of skills over the summer months. The chart on the right illustrates similar changes for students performing at the 99th percentile.
2. The summer slide affects students at all achievement levels.
What You Can Do
Spend 10 to 15 minutes reading each day.
Summer reading lists are designed for students performing at or around the 50th percentile. These same books won't maintain the reading skills of a high performing student. Moreover, we can see that these reading lists aren't even enough to maintain the reading skills of students at the 50th percentile. High performing students read more than what they are assigned. Go to the library or book store and pick out some books for the summer that match your child's reading abilities. If you need some recommendations, you can check out our recommended reading lists for advanced readers here.
It's important for your child to read consistently throughout the summer. Reading all of their assigned books at the beginning or end of the summer doesn't maintain reading skills. These students will suffer the same losses as a child that doesn't complete their summer reading assignment.
Review last year's math standards.
Remember, most students LOSE math skills that they've already learned over the summer. While you may be anxious to start teaching your child next year's material, it's important to spend time reviewing last year's material EVEN IF your child already knows it. Even though your child already knows it, they can forget it! Retaining all of the skills learned last year will actually put your child AHEAD of the top performing students.
At HEROES Academy, we provide students with summer homework that reviews last year's material. By ensuring that our students retain last year's curriculum over the summer and limiting the classes to students who demonstrate an ability to master math facts quickly, we are actually able to cover two years of curriculum in 36 2-hour sessions.
Not sure where to begin? Here's a summary of math standards by grade.
3rd Grade Standards
4th Grade Standards
5th Grade Standards
6th Grade Standards
Master Your Math Facts
Math is not about crunching numbers; true math is about pattern recognition and logic. This does not mean mastering basic calculations is not important. Learning math facts is like learning the alphabet. A child who must sound out words, syllable by syllable is not able to comprehend a reading passage. Likewise, a child who struggles to complete basic computations is not able to recognize new mathematical relationships.
There is nothing complicated about teaching your child math facts. It's just a matter of time on task. The HEROES math facts challenge asks students to spend approximately 2 minutes per day working on math facts. It's simple to use at home. Each math facts worksheet comes with an answer key. You can access our math facts program here.
First Day – Place one challenge sheet face down in front of your child. Prepare a timer. Give your child a 3-second warning by counting down: 3-2-1 GO!
Carefully observe your child as he/she completes the challenge. Mentally note any questions where your child pauses before writing down the answer. These are the problems that your child has not memorized as well as most.
After your child completes the challenge, record the time in the space provided at the top of the sheet. Use the answer key at the end to check his/work. Record the score in the space provided.
Subsequent Days - Your child must complete as many challenges as necessary to beat his/her prior best time. Make sure to offer the same level of enthusiasm for achieving the goal. Also, make sure to pick three math facts for the day.
If your child is enrolled in an accelerated math class at HEROES Academy, continue daily practice of this level until your child’s teacher tells you to advance to the next level.
If you are using this program to work with your child independently, continue daily practice until your child can correctly complete this challenge in less than 60 seconds for two consecutive weeks.
I know its just anxiety. Just anxiety. That’s a bit of an oxymoron. There’s no such thing as Just Anxiety. I know it’s anxiety. I can recognize that. That doesn’t make it better - doesn’t make it easier -- doesn’t make it go away. I know what I should do - what I need to do -- but it doesn’t matter much right now. I need to push forward. I need to do this.
It’s just a test. No, it’s not a test. As I’ve said so many times before, it’s an assessment -- an evaluation. It can’t be passed. It can’t be failed. But, for me, it can. It is. It’s about passing or failing. I need to join Mensa -- to run for the position of gifted child coordinator, a position that I desperately want. But, that’s not all.
It is an age-based assessment. If your child is 5 years old, (s)he will take the CogAT level 5. If your child is 7 years old, (s)he will take the CogAT level 7. Your child’s school may choose to administer an above-level assessment to identify children for a gifted and talented program. The school may also choose to administer a below-level assessment to assess students suspected of learning disabilities. To find out, ask your school's guidance counselor.