Written by Keith Brown, All Around Amazing Tutor for Enhanced Prep
Many students experience what’s called “the summer slide,” a loss of learning that typically begins when students start summer break. This summer slide can be detrimental in many ways, often resulting in an academic adjustment period once students return to school in the fall. Both the NWEA (Summer Learning Loss: What We Know and What We’re Learning) and the Colorado Department of Education (Summer Slide and the Importance of Reading over the Summer) have more information about this learning loss.
Unfortunately, this “summer slide” will likely be magnified because of COVID-19. School ended in March or earlier for most students in the U.S. Yes, online learning and hand-delivered assignments have been in place to facilitate learning, but most students have had difficulty with attending virtual sessions, completing homework on time, and simply finding motivation to stay focused, since many school districts haven’t been able to hold students accountable.
Enter the COVID-19 slide, which has added three more months to an already substantial period of learning loss.
It is imperative to stay academically engaged during this time to minimize this loss and continue learning trajectories.
So what can you do as a student to fight the tide of the COVID-19 slide? You have plenty of options.
Writing and Reading
How about a home-based book club? Choose a book to read with your family or friend group, and meet virtually to discuss this book once a week.
You might also take up a journaling practice, making daily entries in a notebook (digital or paper) to hone your writing skills, promote reflection, and explore creativity.
You can find recommendations for good books online, such as Goodreads | Meet your next favorite book; students might also wish to sign up for a Journaling 101 online course (try Udemy, for example).
Precocious writers and artists might also like to sign up for a course through MasterClass, a platform that offers classes taught by celebrities and real-world heroes.
I have to mention the Summer Math Challenge from Lexile. It is a free 6-week program that helps students practice math skills taught in their local school system. You can specify by state or by Common Core as well as by grade or subject material (i.e., Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and geometry).
In addition, there’s always Khan Academy. It has interactive challenges and assessments, as well as thousands of practice questions for students to complete. Students earn badges along the way for performance milestones. It is appropriate for all age groups and provides performance summaries for all work completed. Sign up is free!
IXL is an online math practice website for students in junior kindergarten through grade 11. Each grade level provides thousands of questions for students to complete and practice. IXL will track their progress and send reports to parents. There are membership fees of $9.95/month or $79/year.
iPractice Math provides multiple-choice and short-answer practice for students in grades 1-12. Questions are provided by topic and can be completed one at a time or in an online worksheet version. Special reports are provided to highlight student achievement and areas of need. The “Learn” tab provides step-by-step strategies and examples, as well as math vocabulary use. Registration is free.
If you’d rather practice your math skills in a non-virtual way, check out this list of card games.