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How to keep students learning and avoid the 'summer slide'

Oswego Exploring Nature Program.jpg
SUNY Oswego
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Outdoor activities and summer enrichment programs, like SUNY Oswego's Exploring Nature program, help students beat the "summer slide"

Research shows over summer break, students can lose as much as one-third of the academic gains they made during the school year.

Michelle Storie, an assistant professor and coordinator of the School Psychology program at SUNY Oswego, said the pandemic has made the fight against the “summer slide” even more crucial.

"It's more important than ever that students are getting academic stimulation in some way and being involved in academic activities,” said Storie. “Since kids are already coming in behind, we want to make sure that they're not losing ground from skills they've gained over the past year."

Storie said parents should focus on keeping their kids reading, writing, and working on math skills during the summer months.

It can help to carve out family reading time or encourage students to keep a journal. Many library programs offer incentives for students to pick up a book, or students can do research and help their parents plan day trips.

“Kids could actually read up on some of the different places they might visit,” said Storie. “We’re so close to Niagara Falls and Corning Museum of Glass, and we’re so fortunate in our location because there are many amazing places within a 1-2 hour drive.”

When it comes to math, Storie said students can strengthen their skills in the course of everyday life.

"When they are eating at a restaurant, having them calculate what the bill will likely come to, or for older kids, having them calculate what the tip should be,” said Storie. “Doing recipes together and building crafts."

Storie said there are also many good academic apps and websites where students can sharpen their skills, but she said use screen time in moderation, and make sure kids get plenty of time to play outside.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.