July 20, 2020 - No Comments!

Battling Summer Slump During COVID-19

Milagros Montalvo

This is part four of our ongoing series about edTech industry shifts in at-home learning. To check out the whole series, click here.

The effects of "Summer Slump,” learning loss that happens over the summer months, are often shocking. Without the routine and rigor of school and extracurricular activities, students fall behind and often struggle to catch up with their peers in the fall. This disparity is especially evident in underserved students.

Because of  COVID-19, many students have not set foot in a school since March. According to Education Week, students who normally lose between two weeks and two months of growth over the summer may now only retain about 70% of their literacy progress and 50% of their math skills. How can parents combat an unprecedented loss of learning this summer? Tackle it head on. 

Here are three simple ways to introduce structure into your summer and support your child’s educational growth. 

Start your day with a meeting.

The morning is a great time to chat through what your child might want to focus on and what they can expect from you during the day or week. The length of the meeting depends on you and your child, but 10 to 15 minutes is best practice. Here are a few formats to consider:

  • Make it official.
    Ring a bell, do a quick dance, or sing a song to signal the beginning of your day.
  • Establish a routine.
    Discuss the weather, your schedule, or meal times. Whatever your opening routine is, try to make it as consistent as possible. Make sure differences in the schedule are communicated to your child at the start of the day.
  • Address academic work.
    Discuss what book your child plans on reading, what they're excited to accomplish or learn, and which devices they may need to use.
  • Plan a group activity.
    Family walks, art projects, or book clubs will bring you closer together (see below!).

Encourage your child to read and write for pleasure. 

Reading doesn’t need to be a chore. Even 15 minutes of reading a day can support your child’s developing literacy skills.  

  • Sign up for a “Reading Challenge.” Our partners, Scholastic and Learning Ally, host summer reading experiences where children can access digital books, track their reading progress, and can even win prizes! You will also find additional literacy resources like book lists and activities. 
  • Start a Family Book Club. Choose an age-appropriate book as a family and decide on a day and time to discuss the book together. Younger children may do better if they have time before the conversation to consider their favorite characters or whether they liked the book.
  • Set reading goals and track your family’s progress. Set a reading goal, i.e. 3.5 hours a week or 2 grade-level books a week, and track your goals with a simple log or calendar.
  • Keep a journal.
    Journaling can be a fun way for your child to practice their writing skills and reflect on what they’re doing and feeling this summer. Not sure what to write about? Support them with some writing prompts! Ask them leading questions or have them write about their favorite thing they did that day.

Explore educational sites and games.

Screen time isn’t always our enemy. It’s all about setting time limits and finding quality edTech experiences that are age-appropriate and easy to navigate. Make sure you decide on when, what, and how often children are exploring sites and games during your morning meeting.

Feeling guilty about your child spending more time online? Pivot the experience by joining in or asking your child to show you how to play. Here are a few sites we recommend: 

If you need additional ideas about helping your child succeed academically from home, check out my other article on how to weather the storm of at-home learning. With your support and care, "Summer Slump" doesn’t stand a chance.


Milagros comes to Backpack Interactive with almost a decade of teaching and administrative experience. She holds an M.S.in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College and was a former columnist for Scholastic Teacher Magazine. A native New Yorker, Milagros enjoys a good Broadway soundtrack and a strong cup of coffee.


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