No more pencils, no more books.... Which child isn't happy about the last day of school. Kids get to put away their textbooks and deadlines, tests and projects. In exchange they get the lazy summer days without the structure of the school year.
But just like classroom learning ends, so do the school based speech therapy services your child might be getting. And when a child does not actively work on the speech or language skills they achieved in speech during the year, they may forget and "slide back" over the summer break. When the new year begins in the fall, that summer learning loss or “the summer slide” may occur.
Some research regarding summer learning loss has shown that:
Students may lose about two months worth of what they have learned over the school year.
Teachers often spend the first few weeks of a new school year re-teaching material from the last year. School based speech therapists often end up doing the same.
What Can Parents Do?
So what should parents do to stop or minimize the “summer slide”? At Better Speech we prepare our families for when their child's speech therapy services may end for the summer. Our speech language pathologists often suggest these types of simple ideas to keep your a child engaged in learning and practicing their speech therapy goals during the summer months.
Before the year is out, get a copy of your child's speech therapy goals or IEP and ask the speech therapist for some concrete ideas on what they should work on during summer break.
Try to read to your child for 20 minutes every day or ask your child to read 20 minutes every day.
When reading identify new vocabulary and review it on a regular basis.
Minimize technology and give your child books or real toys to play with; get down on the floor and play with them.
On long car rides listen to audiobooks or podcasts for kids.
Cook or work on arts and crafts activities with your child. This helps them follow simple directions.
Get a penpal for your child and have them practice writing letters, postcards or emails. They can also keep a summer journal or author a "what I did this summer" blog.
Parents are always happy to see their kids get out for summer and have plenty of unstructured free time. But it is important to give kids just the right amount of structure they need so that when they return to school in the fall, they wont feel frustrated by that feeling of being behind again. Progress in speech therapy gives a child confidence, and which parent doesn't like to see their child glowing with the "I know how to do that" smile?
If you need help with your child's speech therapy goals over the summer, the SLPs at Better Speech are available to make recommendations and suggestions. Just bring a copy of your child's speech therapy goals from school and our SLPs would be happy to review them with you during a free consultation.
At Better Speech we know you deserve speech therapy that works. We have experts in your needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. If you want to find out more about our services, contact us to schedule a free consultation.