Tampa (BLOOM) – As summer approaches and children prepare for a well-deserved break, the fear of summer slide is on the minds of many parents. Summer slide, or summer learning loss, can hold a child back tremendously, but there are simple ways to ensure they don’t forget what they learned during the school year.

Maria Anthony, a kindergarten teacher at Mabry Elementary School in Tampa, is passionate about her students and concerned about summer slide. She believes that if children aren’t academically engaged on some level during the summer, they can lose up to nine weeks of foundational skills, including a reading level. Reading and writing are where she sees children slip the most over the summer.

Anthony recommends connecting whatever children are reading or doing to their real life, as it will help them maintain that knowledge. In addition, she suggests practicing math problems in real-life scenarios, such as grocery shopping, to make math fun and applicable.

Moreover, new data shows that kids are already behind, possibly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual learning. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that the average reading scores of 9-year-old students dropped by five points, and math scores dropped by seven points in 2022.

Anthony reminds parents that it doesn’t take much to keep a child caught up. Two to three hours a week of academic engagement is appropriate for an average learner, and it doesn’t all have to be on the same day. For those struggling before summer break, summer school is an option, and free apps are also available to provide support.

While forgetting some things may happen, Anthony’s tips ensure that children will have a fun summer while also engaging in learning outside of the classroom. By staying academically engaged, children can avoid summer slide and continue to build upon the skills they learned during the school year.