Schools are such funny places, so full of young energy, optimism and a spirit of change, yet so rooted in the traditions and systems of the past. One of those traditions is summer break, which was created to accommodate the needs of an agrarian society. Everything we know about education tells us that 11 weeks off of learning leads to a thing called the “summer slide.”
Summer slide is the term given to the impact of not practicing skills learned over the past nine months. In general, students lose about a month of academic achievement over the summer break – with losses being greater the higher the grade level. Social-economic status also plays a role in this brain drain.
To be fair, most, if not all of our students, engage in learning over the summer – whether it is a trip to the Galapagos, devouring books or attending a camp of some sort. And much of this learning is experiential, just what we love here at Saklan. Furthermore, “downtime,” play and being just plain bored are also important to our development (our electronic devices have stolen boredom and its associated benefits from us, more on that at another time).
But the skills that are hit hardest by summer slide are those associated with math and reading. In order to address some of this loss of learning, teachers have put together binders with summer work for each student. The work focuses on both math and reading and has been built to reinforce skills that have been learned during the year. As a rule of thumb, there is roughly 20 hours of reading to finish, and 10 hours of paper to pencil type of work. Some of it is creative, and some of it is routine practicing of skills.
This work will be coming home in binders either Friday or Monday, depending on the class. We will be collecting the work in August on first day back to school. To be most beneficial, most of this work should be spread out over the summer and not done the last week of break. Please take a look at the materials and let us know if you have any questions. We ask for your support in ensuring your son or daughter completes the binders to the best of their abilities. They are designed to set them up for success for the new school year.