Frequently Asked Questions About the Summer Slide and Learning Loss

I have been getting a lot of emails and calls from people wanting to fully understand the summer slide and also find some strategies to mitigate it. So I decided to write a brief article that answers frequently asked questions about the summer slide.

1. Is summer slide a real thing?

Summer learning loss is the loss of knowledge and skills during summer vacation. This happens mainly because students don’t practice the skills they learned during the school year during the summer. It only takes 2-3 hours of academic instruction per week to prevent learning loss over the summer. Summer learning loss is just a case of “use it or lose it.”

Do statistics prove it?

Here is an excellent piece that supports the notion of summer learning loss and provides stats.

Polikoff, M. A. Q. D. M. (2017, September 14). Summer learning loss: What is it, and what can we do about it? Retrieved February 15, 2021, from

2. Is this summer expected to be different/worse because so many kids learned virtually this past school year?

Researchers on COVID-19 learning loss predict that the learning loss during the 2020-2021 school year could be substantial, especially in mathematics—with students projected to lose five to nine months of learning on average by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Students of color and other disenfranchised groups could be six to twelve months behind, juxtaposed with four to eight months for white students. While all students have been disadvantaged by COVID-19, those who came into the pandemic with the worst academic opportunities are on track to have the most significant learning loss when it’s all said and done. If you couple this with the summer learning loss, the situation becomes even more dire.

3. What can parents do to help keep kids engaged in learning over the summer?

Reference the following article that I wrote on the subject:

4. What are some “fun” summer activities that can actually help kids learn at the same time?

Reference the following article that I wrote on the subject:

5. What should parents do if they suspect their child has fallen behind because of the pandemic? Alternatively, how can kids get a head start over summer break?

Because of summer and COVID-19 learning loss, many of our students are woefully behind academically, and we must do everything within our power to make them whole. If parents suspect that their child has fallen behind academically or want them to get a headstart, they should talk with their child’s teacher and principal. Most schools will hold acceleration programs this summer, designed to help students who have fallen behind or who want to sharpen their skills. Even if your school district is not doing this, they should partner with a neighboring school district to ensure that their students are serviced.

6. What is social emotional learning, and why is it especially important for parents to foster it this summer?

Socio-emotional learning is a child’s ability to understand the feelings of others, manage their emotions, and build relationships with both children and adults. For socio-emotional learning to occur, students need other kids to practice with. Since Covid-19 closed many schools for up to a year, students had limited ways to hone this crucial skill.

7. What are some things parents can do to help foster social emotional learning over the summer?

Here is an article that I wrote on socio-emotional teaching and learning ideas. Parents can easily implement all 9.

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