School's Out! Avoiding the Summer Slide (Infographic)

Core skills like reading, writing and math take practice. Just like playing a sport, you wouldn’t stop for months at a time and expect to maintain your progress. Regardless, many kids close their books at the end of the school year and wait until August to open them back up. The “summer slide” is real and it affects students every year.

School's Out! Avoiding the Summer Slide

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[Transcript] School's Out! Avoiding the Summer Slide 

Core skills like reading, writing and math take practice. Just like playing a sport, you wouldn’t stop for months at a time and expect to maintain your progress. Regardless, many kids close their books at the end of the school year and wait until August to open them back up. The “summer slide” is real and it affects students every year.

Slipping Away

For a lot of students, the summer means falling behind in core subjects and, eventually, lower standardized test scores. So what exactly can students lose over the course of a two-month summer vacation? (1,2)

  • 2.6 months of math skills
  • 2 months of reading skills
  • Multiple grade levels of abilities
  • Over time, summer learning loss can create a performance gap of two to five years by high school. (2)
  • It also costs teachers and students time the following school year.
  • 4 to 6 weeks: Average time it takes to re-teach students the lost material in the fall (3)
  • And the summer slide overwhelmingly affects kids from lower income families more than others. By the end of fifth grade, students from lower-income families are often 2.5 years behind their peers. (4)

Beating Summer Brain Drain

However, there is hope. Teachers can encourage parents and students to participate in multiple activities to avoid the dreaded summer slide. (5)

Reading and Writing

  • Visit your local library for books and classes.
  • Take family photos and encourage scrapbooking.
  • Write letters to relatives and friends.
  • Listen to audio books on a road trip.
  • 9 in 10: Number of kids who say they would be more likely to finish a book they picked out themselves (3)
  • 62%: Percentage of kids who say they enjoy reading books over the summer (3)


  • Get cooking. Let kids learn to measure and mix.
  • Download math games on your tablet or smartphone.
  • Encourage kids to calculate mileage and times for road trips.
  • Create and run a lemonade stand to teach kids about managing money.
  • 2 to 3 hours: Time per week of practice or studying it takes to fully combat summer learning loss (1)

Other Core Subjects

  • Visit local history and art museums.
  • Find easy and fun science experiments online to do at home.
  • Visit a zoo and encourage children to keep a journal about the animals.
  • Plant and cultivate a garden. Teach kids about nutrition.

Physical Education

  • Sign kids up for a team sport of their choice.
  • Find local swimming lessons.
  • Encourage walking or biking with friends.
  • Find a park with open trails and playground equipment.
  • Regular physical activity during the summer can actually lead to increased concentration and improved test scores. (1)



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