Summer break is the favorite time of year for many students. No school. No homework. And a lot of time to play outside. But, research shows many students actually lose reading and math skills over the summer months.
Summer learning loss is a particular challenge for disadvantaged students. On average, students lose about a month's worth of school year learning over the summer, according to research from the Brookings Institution. The group also found that math declines are generally worse than reading declines and the extent of that loss gets worse at higher grade levels.
This puts students at a disadvantage and means many are not at the appropriate skill level for their grade when the school year starts. Nine out of ten teachers spend at least three weeks re-teaching lessons every fall, according to Say Yes Buffalo.
We've put together a list of some resources parents and children can take advantage of this summer to be sure the so-called "summer slide" doesn't hit your family.
1. Free day camps through Say Yes Buffalo
Students in Buffalo Public Schools have the chance to participate in free summer camps through Say Yes Buffalo, the school district, City of Buffalo and other community partners. The camps are open to Pre-K through 6th grade students and are held at locations across the city.
Interested families must register by Friday, June 22. The camps are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. but some locations offer full day options. For more information about the camps click here. For a full listing of locations click here.
2. Public libraries
The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system holds a variety of events all summer long for kids and families. Many locations have summer reading clubs for students that offer prizes.
At the Kenmore Branch, for example, Hawk Creek Wildlife Center has an event in August introducing visitors to and educating them about different creatures. For a full listing of events at the Kenmore Branch click here.
To find out what events are planned at different libraries across the county, visit the listing of locations here and click which one you're interested in.
3. YMCA programs
The YMCA offers a wide variety of summer camps that cover everything from swimming to leadership to arts and education. You can learn more about the YMCA summer camp programs here.
You can also find a full listing of day camps offered through the YMCA and read a description of what is covered here.
4. Buffalo Zoo camps
The Buffalo Zoo holds several camps for children five to 12 years old from July through August. The day long camps teach kids all about different animals and also cover conservation and environmental topics. The program involves a registration fee and families can learn more here.
5. Online resources
There is a vast amount of free resources online that parents can mix in to a child's summer routine to keep them up to date on math and reading skills.
Light Up Your Brain is a website that has games, brainteasers and audio stories that help hone skills like problem solving, reading and math.
Connections Academy, a virtual learning blog, has put together a list of interactive websites for online learning games here. It is geared toward students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.