Summer Slide

In Donesa Walker, Kiddos by Lola Magazine

… is everything destined to go down the Brain Drain this summer?

By Donesa Walker, M.Ed., Board Certified Cognitive Specialist, Owner LearningRx Shreveport

I love sliding down slides with the curves and free fall experience of freedo, but I so do not want that ground to catch up to me as I have had far too many falls lately! I especially love the water slides in our Louisiana weather as they really combine the best of both worlds. What I do not love is the Summer Slide when it comes to education/academics and total loss of what has been learned. With Covid and all the negatives that were caused by shutdowns, the reality of slides in skills is all to evident. Summer slide or the Summer slowdown or the summer brain drain as it is called is really a way to collective state the loss of overall content during a closure or time that the brain is not being stimulated at the same level as it is during a typical school year. The measure of the Covid shutdown was an astounding measure of over a year in reading skills and 8 months of math skills as estimated by an exponential case study based on summer slide measures in past and measured by student performance in classroom. The truth of the matter is that once standardized testing is completed, we will realize that the shutdowns cost our students much more in academic growth. Knowing there is a problem is only part of the issue, getting to the answer or a possible solution requires all of us. Here are a few tips for combatting the Summer Brain Drain:

  1. While sliding in the park or playing in the water, engage in fun math activities such as counting backwards by twos or threes… avid swimmers who are older and more proficient can perhaps do dives to the bottom of the pool and come back up remembering the number…100 dive or slide, 97 dive or slide, 94 dive or slide …or even increase the spread to multiples of 6 or 7…100 dive, 93 dive, 86 dive…
  2. Cookouts are a blast in the summer and even more fun is to cook with you kids. Allow them to use fractions to reduce or increase the recipes for a crowd. By allowing them to work with fractions from a young age to teen years, they not only gain those necessary cooking skills but the learn the fractions necessary for math and they learn that math is important to their future.
  3. Read for at least 20 minutes a day and explore different places that house books from the library to the museum to the bookstore. Explore different types of reading from recipes to magazines to picture books and be sure to include audio books as this is good for listening skills and the underlying skills needed for reading as well. Choose to partner with local resources that have reading contests such as the community #chillandread contest offered by LearningRx along with community partners this summer…encourages reading in different genres and locations while getting a treat.
  4. Learn something new such a new hobby like fishing or snorkeling. Trying new things opens experiences for the brain and encourages challenges as well as an openness to learning for adventure. Try a new language like Japanese to celebrate the Olympics being in Japan this summer.
  5. Review skills from the year in a fun and new manner such as some of the kinesthetic activities offered at www.blog.allaboutlearningpress.com. Instead of swatting flies or perhaps while swatting flies, you can also swat phonograms.
  6. Sidewalk chalk play is a staple in summer. Go to the 101 Genius Sidewalk chalk ideas to crush Boredom at www.whatmomslove.com. Here you can learn ideas from letter hide and seek to water word painting that will take the summer learning to a whole new high.
  7. Enjoy some geography as you travel or if you are doing a staycation, try out some geography fun from The Big Fat List of Summer Learning Ideas at www.teachbesideme.com. Geocaching is a great way to enjoy some outdoors and make learning a blast. It teaches map skills and let’s you enjoy some fun with the littles.
  8. If you absolutely need a guide to drive your summer learning, try out the Beat the Summer Slide Calendar of Activities at www.teacherspayteachers.com which is full of printables and tons of fun.
  9. Summer camps abound in great resources from the social interaction of stay over camps to the day camps offered by our local resources like SciPort and LSUS/LearningRx braincamps as well as individualized Crainium Camps for boosting those skills with a private brain trainer.
  10. If you cannot take time away from the devices, which is the best advice I can give you to do…well, there are sites that are amazing too; www.switcheroozoo.com; www.funbrain.com; www.kids.nationalgeographic.com; www.reading.ecb.org; www.starfall.com; www.seusville.com; www.storylineonline.net; www.abcya.com; www.highlightskids.com, and many more… www.learningworksforkids.com even has a list of video games that are good for kids!

The best advice is to take some time to be purposeful about learning and have a blast sliding into a great fall like into home base instead of losing what you’ve learned by doing nothing all summer.

The Reading Dilemma

Enough has been said in a negative fashion about the long-term results of Covid, closures, and…the question is what are we going to do about it as a community?

For the team at LearningRx, we have decided to be a part of the solution by offering a great opportunity to encourage reading for all ages. We have partnered with several amazing local businesses to offer a summer reading contest-#chillandread! Each person who chills out with a good book can benefit from a chilly treat such as a fun cool slurpy or ice cream cone!

The fun reading chart is set up as a Bingo style, win-a-treat bookshelf where each time you complete 5 tasks in any order arrangement, you can come by LearningRx to claim your coupon for your treat! You can even combine the fun activities into one awesome fun-filled day such as reading a book about history aloud to a friend while on a picnic to claim three of the five spots…add a bonus spot and score!!!

The required reading for school has never been so fun and this isn’t limited to ages…you can read aloud to a toddler to allow them a chance to win and earn your own treat while doing so…the point is to encourage reading which is so good for the brain and in turn support our community through the amazing resources we have in our area.

While it is true that masks have caused students to struggle more with auditory processing which is the underlying skill needed for reading, it is also true that reading aloud to your family is good for your brain and theirs. Time to strike out and get a good book to Chill with in our beautiful summer weather…

#chillandread