Best Ways to Avoid the Dreaded Summer Slide and Stop Learning Loss

Child sitting at a table doing schoolwork her parents are trying to avoid the dreaded summer slide and stop learning loss over school break.

Summer is on its way and will be here before you know it! Many students have had interruptions to instruction due to school closures and virtual learning most of 2020. Teachers and parents are dreading the summer slide, and the learning loss children will endure over yet another break.


Best Ways to Avoid the Dreaded Summer Slide and Stop Learning Loss


How can you make the right choice to keep your child learning and on track this summer? Even if your child doesn’t have a diagnosed disability, there are many things you can do to support your child over the summer break. These include:


  • Online Tutoring
  • ESY Services
  • Summer School
  • Learning Activities at Home

How Can Online Tutoring Help Prevent Summer Slide? 

An online tutor will assess your child and make a plan to catch your child up to grade level based on their personalized needs! Tutors often work one-on-one and teach specifically to your child’s learning style.  

The tutors are certified special education teachers who specialize in individualized instruction and engagement techniques. These virtual tutors can work with your child anywhere and make the “boring” parts of learning fun! 

Students learn more when they are interested in the content. This is where virtual tutors can really personalize your child’s lessons! 


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How Online Tutoring Helped Mark

Consider Mark, a 3rd-grade student. When Mark began tutoring, he didn’t know: 

  • Days of the week
  • Left from right
  • b from d
  • Frequently used sight words  

Mark was reading significantly behind grade level. He was getting interventions in school, but they were boring! Mark practiced, but it didn’t click.  

He frequently commented, “It’s too hard! It’s so boring!” When Mark started online tutoring, he shared that he was interested in sharks and dinosaurs.  

His tutor developed lessons that included new information to learn about his chosen topic every session, and Mark was suddenly interested in reading! He looked forward to each session and wanted to be able to read the material himself.  

After a few months of hard work, Mark surpasses his school goals and meets his personal goal of learning about sharks without an adult to help! 

Now, when Mark encounters a challenging word, the first thing he says is, “I can do it; I don’t want help!”

What about ESY: Will It Prevent the Summer Slide?

ESY stands for Extended School Year services. Your child’s IEP team may determine as necessary for your child to continue making progress over the summer. ESY is only available to students on an IEP.  

ESY can look different depending on what your child needs! Suppose your child is at a critical stage of growth in one subject. In ESY, your child may only work on that specific subject. 

For example, without direct Speech intervention, your child might lose progress over the summer – this is called regression. In this example, your child may only be eligible for Speech. He may have a learning loss in math over the Summer break since the school won’t teach any math during the program.


What Else Should I Know About ESY?

  • It may not occur as frequently as your child received services during the school year. 
  • Your child may not have the same familiar teacher nor take place at the expected or even a close location. 
  • Your child’s IEP team should be gathering data to support if your child NEEDS the support – will they regress without it? 
  • These services are ONLY provided to students with disabilities, not general education students.  

Would Summer School Prevent Academic Regression? 

Summer school is an excellent way for your child to practice grade-level and social skills with peers. However, during summer school, your child is not provided with:

  • Individualized instruction
  • IEP services
  • Behavior support  

Your child will need supplementation of these skills to maintain progress throughout the school year!


At Home Activities to Prevent the Summer Slide


What other options can you do at home to prevent your child from learning loss over school breaks? Let’s break this down into common subjects that typically have a summer slide. 



#1 Sit down and read with your child every day!

  • Read everything like signs in the car, menus in restaurants, movie headlines, and commercials
  • Read books aloud and have your child read to you!
  • Have your child read to the family pet!
  • Audiobooks and graphic novels are still helping kids practice literacy skills! 
  • Watch TV shows based on books (and read the book with your child before or after).


#2 Play the “I Spy” Game

In this article,  How to Play “I Spy with My Little Eye” you’ll find 72 examples of I Spy Games to try.

#3 Video games

Yes, for real! Video games can help with: 

  • Reading comprehension (can’t complete quests if you don’t follow the directions)
  • Vocabulary
  • Social skills
  • Math
  • Planning & Organizing
  • Fine Motor coordination
  • Following directions

Here are 50 Educational Video Games your child will love.

#4 Start a “Book Club” With Your Child

  •  Ask them what they think about specific parts, events, actions, and how those things made them feel. 
  • Have them make predictions about what will happen next.
  • What would they do in that situation?
  • What could the character have done differently?
  • Don’t just ask for plot points; have a conversation!




#1 Count everything! 

  • Coins
  • Beans
  • Beads
  • Food items
  • Tires on cars and trucks! 


#2 Talk About Math Concepts Like:

  • Pairs
  • Dozens
  • Dollars
  • Cents


#3 Practice Paying for Items With Real Money 

This utilizes multisensory learning. When kids can feel the tactile differences between objects and manipulate them realistically, it creates longer-lasting connections. 



Using various vocabulary words while playing games helps kids have a memory to connect to in the future.


Play board and card games – 

Target always has great sales! Find one your child wants to play. Games help with:

  • Social skills
  • Counting
  • Following directions
  • Comprehension 


  • Tell stories, retell stories, add on crazy endings to familiar stories!
  • Practice writing what happened during the day in sequential order (first, next, last)
  • Draw picture stories!

More Fun Learning Activities to Avoid the Summer Slide: 

  • Fun texts
  • Science experiments
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Puzzles 
  • Escape rooms
  • Online games
  • Virtual field trips 


What is Best for Your Child in Preventing Learning Loss?

Well, it depends on your child and what they enjoy! It might be a combination of all three! If you like to let your child have a “break” over the summer, you can still keep them on track academically while they have fun! 

Incorporate online tutoring with your summer travel adventures. Tutors can make fun educational scavenger hunts in the locations you will be going to. 


Additional Resources to Avoid the Summer Slide

There is so much you can do with your children to avoid the dreaded summer slide and still have fun and relaxation. 

What activities have you found that help your child? Drop them in the comments below. 


Here are additional ideas of fun activities: 


Do you have a child that needs one on one assistance?  

We offer one-on-one special education tutoring that can be done from anywhere the student is! Why? Because our special education experts conduct their sessions online!

Get started with a free consultation today!



Child sitting at a table doing schoolwork her parents are trying to avoid the dreaded summer slide and stop learning loss over school break.
What are the best ways to avoid the dreaded summer slide and stop learning loss over school breaks? Here’s a ton of ideas that work!

Sarah Franklin

Sarah Franklin

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