The Summer Slide Affects Gifted Students Too

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.

  • Geometry:  Introduction to angles and basic attributes of shapes.
  • Measurement:  Area and perimeter of rectangles and rectilinear shapes.  Whole number measurements of length, distance, mass (weight), volume, time, money, and temperature.
  • Multiplication:  Introduction to the meaning of multiplication; Learning multiplication facts up to 10 X 10; Multiplication of multiples of 10 (ex. 6 X 70); Associative and Commutative Properties of Multiplication.
  • Division:  Introduction to the meaning of division; Division using known multiplication facts (ex:  32 ÷ 8); Division with Remainders.
  • Fractions:  Introduction to the meaning of fractions and fraction notation; Common Equivalent Fractions, Comparing and Ordering Common Fractions.
  • Word Problems: Various strategies to solve word problems including working with variables.
  • Geometry:  Angle measurements including using a protractor; Perpendicular and Parallel lines; Symmetry.
  • Measurement:  Measurements using fractions; Unit Conversions within one system (ex:  inches to feet; grams to kilograms).
  • Multiplication:  Multi-digit multiplication; Distributive Property of Multiplication over Addition.
  • Division:  Long division; Factors and Multiples; Prime and Composite; Divisibility Rules.
  • Fractions:  Equivalent Fractions; Comparing and Ordering Fractions, Addition and Subtraction with like Denominators; Multiplying and Dividing Fractions by Whole Numbers.  Multiplying and Dividing Whole Numbers by Fractions.
  • Word Problems:  Various strategies to solve word problems including working with variables.
  • Geometry:  Cartesian Coordinate System (1st Quadrant); Volume of 3D Solids.
  • Measurement:  Measurement using fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals; Unit Conversions within one system using fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals.
  • Number Theory:  Factoring; Common Factors and Multiples; Greatest Common Factors; Least Common Multiples.
  • Fractions and Mixed Numbers:  Addition and Subtraction with Unlike Denominator; Multiplying Fractions; Division with Unit Fractions.
  • Decimals:  Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide Decimals.
  • Word Problems:  Various strategies to solve word problems including working with variables.
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. 
  • If your child earned a score of 36/36 in 60 seconds or less:  Give out a Congrats! or High Five! or similar expression of approval.  He/she has finished the math facts study session for the day.
  • Circle three problems that were incorrect or that you observed took longer to answer.  These are your child’s three math facts for the day.  Have him/her write all of them several times while saying them out loud.  Make sure your praise your child for memorizing these three math facts for the day. 
  • Quiz him/her on these three facts throughout the day.  Repeat them while you’re in the car or waiting someplace.  Focus on helping your child memorize just the three math fact for the day throughout the day. 
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. 

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