Summer Slide: What is it & How to Prevent it

March 11, 2024
3 min read

Here, we cover how to prevent summer slide with tips on how to keep your child active throughout the summer! 

Every parent wants their children to get ahead and be prepared for the uncertainty of the future. With new technology and jobs being created every day, it can be challenging to figure out how to best equip your child for a prosperous and meaningful career.

Say your child excels in all their classes throughout the year. They can tell you everything they learned, from math, language, history, and science. You might feel safe to assume that when they get to class next year, they should be more than prepared for the new material, right?

Not quite. Unfortunately, what isn’t used isn’t retained. What’s scary is that your child could lose more than a month's learning. What’s to blame for this? A little problem called summer slide.

But what is summer slide? And what can be done about it? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to nip this problem in the bud.

What is the Summer Slide?

Summer slide, otherwise known as summer learning loss or summer setback, is a phenomenon where children lose precious learning from the school year over the summer. The two most vulnerable areas are reading and math, with math being more susceptible to loss.

Without continued application, the brain isn’t adapted to keep unused skills and knowledge. As a result, students are actually less prepared when starting school after the summer than they were at the end of the prior school year.

Summer learning loss is not only a detriment to school-age children but also to teachers, who are required to go over the material that wasn’t successfully retained over the summer break.

How to Prevent the Summer Slide

There are a few things to keep in mind when parents are looking to prevent summer learning loss. Remember that activities will be more enjoyable if children have the opportunity to learn about subject matter that interests them.


The easiest way to prevent the summer slide is to get your child on a reading schedule. It’s important that they select reading material that’s challenging enough for them. Kids often pick books that are too easy for them. So, be sure to give them some quality options to look into.


While encouraging your children to read seems fairly straightforward, incorporating math into their summer routine may be a bit more challenging. Engaging in baking/cooking, scientific extracurriculars, and educational games are great ways to get started.

Cooking is an excellent way to practice fluency in measurements and conversions for children. At the same time, games and extracurriculars provide a fun and interactive way to use quantitative skills in an organic fashion.

Hands-on Activities

It’s no surprise that children learn best through real-world experience. For example, if your child is interested in science or nature, taking them to a museum could be a fantastic opportunity for them to work on their critical thinking skills. 

This works especially well if you ask them questions that allow them to reflect and engage with their environment to prevent summer learning setbacks.

Summer Slide General Tips

Kids are going to thrive best when learning feels natural and organic. Forcing your child to sit behind a desk as they glance out a sunny window to see their friends frolicking outdoors may not be the best approach. The real key to focus on is using your child’s innate curiosity to their advantage.

For instance, cooking and baking are great natural learning experiences because they engage all kinds of sensory perception while simultaneously rewarding measurements, order, and calculations. You’ll be able to incorporate scents, textures, and tastes into their learning.  

You can also encourage journaling or storytelling to exercise language pathways in the brain. When your child has the opportunity to express themselves and be creative, they’re far more likely to organically retain what they’ve learned. 

You can introduce new words to their vocabulary and ask them to incorporate these new words as they describe novel experiences they’ve had during the day.

FAQs: Summer Slide

Still wondering how to prevent summer slide? Give our expert tips a read.

1. Is Summer Slide a Real Thing?

Summer slide is a real problem that many children and parents encounter–but it’s only natural. When students aren’t using the material they learned over a long period of time, it is prone to being lost and forgotten. 

2. What Can Parents Do To Prevent the Summer Slide?

Parents can prevent summer slide by ensuring their child is challenging themselves over the summer. One of the most effective ways to prevent summer slide is to implement a reading schedule

It is also essential to reinforce math skills over the summer as they are the most affected by summer learning loss. You can combat this by engaging in educational games, cooking, and scientific extracurriculars.

It’s important to make your child’s summer learning rewarding. Taking part in activities that feel natural and interesting to your child will ultimately be more effective and worthwhile. 

3. How Do I Keep My Kids Engaged in the Summer?

Giving your child the opportunity to explore and engage in activities that interest and challenge them is the most effective way to keep them engaged over the summer.

Summer is a great time to let kids lead their learning. Allowing them to choose activities that interest them will be more effective at mitigating the effects of summer learning loss than a rigid structure!

4. Why Should Students Read Over the Summer?

Students spend their school year developing complex language skills by reading and writing. They practice articulating their thoughts in a clear and effective manner. Unfortunately, if these skills aren’t maintained over the summer, then students will lose these skills and not be able to perform as well the following school year.

Reading is one of the simplest ways to prevent summer setback. Reading material is readily available, with bountiful options to choose from. With public libraries and ebooks, every student is bound to find something that appeals to them.

Keep in mind that audiobooks and reading to each other is a terrific way to make reading a social activity that’s more exciting. You can also ask your children questions about the readings to further improve their language and comprehension skills.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your child engaged over the summer should be something every parent prioritizes. 

Summer slide is no joke and affects almost everyone–from children to parents and teachers. Keeping your child’s learning in check over the break is essential to ensure that the knowledge they’ve acquired from the previous school year is reinforced!

The two areas parents should focus on are reading and math abilities. These subjects are most prone to summer learning loss. As a result, the application of reading and math skills is absolutely essential. 

Having material that interests and challenges your child is key to keeping them engaged over the summer.

It’s essential to remember that each child is unique, and different approaches work best for each situation. Having material that interests and challenges your child is key to keeping them engaged over the summer. In any case, having a game plan is essential to prevent summer slide from happening.

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