A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Summer slide affects hundreds of students

There’s the “Summer Slide”, the “Achievement Gap” and the “Summer Brain Drain”. No matter the name, the effect is still impacting students greatly. During the summer months, students forget the lessons they have been taught in previous years. Most students either exercise their brains too little or not at all during the summer. 

“When [my little sister] started bringing her homework [in the beginning of this school year], it was the same stuff from last year but then now they turned it up a notch,” said senior Karen Maldonado. 

It’s not just in Elementary, but also high school as well. 

“Sometimes kids forget very basic things in regards to essay writings like how to write a thesis statement,” said drama and English 10 teacher Ms.Rivera. 

According to the National Summer Learning Association, at least nine out of 10 teachers have to spend three weeks reteaching lessons from previous years. Having to go back and teach lessons takes up time and slows down the process of the student learning the new lessons they are supposed to be taught in the beginning of the year. 

Some, however, don’t feel that the “summer slide” applies to all.

“It depends on your brain. It really does.” said Maldondo. “If you could remember things, then you’re good, but if you can’t, like me who can’t remember what you did yesterday, you’re done.” 

Studies have shown that just two to three hours of practice in any subject per week can prevent summer loss. Many students believe exercising their brains requires doing complicated, long worksheets when in reality, there are many ways to have fun while learning. 

Doing activities like sudoku, brain teasers, word cross puzzles and word search can really help in stopping the summer slide, but it also can stop other things as well like diseases. Exercising  your brain can prevent different forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia. Theses diseases can make you have trouble remembering certain daily activities. 

Despite the obvious summer slide in many students, some teachers feel summer break should be just that: a break.

“I don’t believe in doing work over the summer,” said Ms.Rivera. “[Students] should be active. They should want to read or gain knowledge [through] going to summer camp, learning a sport, practicing an instrument, writing.”

According to Central Connecticut State University, learning new skills provides benefits with mental speed, learning, comfort with change, and making connections between subjects and contents 

There are many ways to prevent from sliding in the summer slide that don’t consist of doing math problems or reading all day. Many other ways to exercise one’s mind during the summer creative ways include painting or writing a short story or maybe learning a new language. Whatever you do, just make sure to have fun and expand your brain.