As I look out my window on this freezing cold morning, summer seems so far away; but before we know it, leafy trees and shorts weather will be here. With that comes freedom from school! Students and teacher rejoice! Except one caveat—that darn summer slide.

Summer slide is when students lose skills over the summer because they are not continually practicing what they have learned during the school year. Summer slide happens to all students, but it hits students with learning disabilities especially hard. Here are some ideas to help lessen the summer slide for your child with learning disabilities:

  • Read daily. This can be a combination of having your child read to you, you reading to your child, or listening to an audiobook and discussing what you have heard. Doing a combination of having your child read and listen will help boost decoding, comprehension, and vocabulary skills.
  • Practice basic facts, such as math facts and sight words. This can be done through the use of games so it is not so “academic.” You and your child can play matching games, war where you multiply or add the numbers to determine who gets the cards, or writing words or facts in shaving cream on the patio table or sidewalk chalk on the driveway. 
  • Visit the zoo, museum, or other local attraction. Talking with your child about what they see and asking questions that start with, “I wonder…,” or “Do you think…” can help your child build background knowledge, vocabulary, and self-questioning skills, which all contribute to stronger reading comprehension. 
  • Keep a journal. When you return from a vacation or the trip to the zoo, write down what you saw. Take turns having your child write and scribing for him; consider drawing pictures first to generate ideas.
  • Consider a structured summer program to keep skills sharp. This could include tutoring or an academic summer camp. Springer School and Center’s Adventures in Summer Learning Program offers academic skills programs for students entering grades 1-8 in a fun and nurturing environment.  Please see wwww.springer-ld.org/summer for more information.

Blogger Stephanie Dunne, Ed.S., is the Center Director at Springer School and Center. Prior to coming to Springer, Stephanie practiced as a school psychologist in public and private schools for ten years. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie at sdunne@springer-ld.org.

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