Summer Slide and Math: Ways to Beat the Slump
As warm weather arrives and students across the country are released for weeks of summer vacation, educators are acutely aware of one of the downsides of an extended break from school: the dreaded “summer slide.” Parents and teachers often work to encourage children to read over the summer months in order to keep up their literacy levels.
But how can students avoid losing gained ground in other subjects, such as math?
According to an article by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, “students lose approximately 2.6 months of math learning over the summer,” and an article published by the Brookings Institution reported that “declines were sharper for math than for reading.”
Some strategies to offset math summer slide include incorporating math games, stories, or problem-solving opportunities in everyday activities. This can include simple everyday activities such as card games that involve counting, cooking to practice the math of measurements, or taking children grocery shopping to add prices, multiply amounts, and subtract sale percentages.
The more accessible we make math seem in our day-to-day lives, the less intimidating math will seem to students in the classroom.
Additionally, more and more teachers and families are also utilizing digital education programs to support math learning opportunities both at school and in the home. With a multitude of software-based education programs to choose from, how can you differentiate between options to choose an effective solution to help kids stay engaged and have success in math learning?
Choosing an effective math software program
Common Sense, the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to providing trustworthy information on educational topics, recently made a list of the “10 Best Math Tools for Elementary Schoolers,” a list that included Imagine Math, an award-winning, evidence-based program with widespread results for students from grades three through middle school.
Imagine Math also made the nonprofit’s “Best Common Core Math Tools for Middle School” list, which described the program as a “fantastic, comprehensive program where teachers can track progress and motivate using meaningful rewards.”
Galen McQuillen authored the article, giving Imagine Math four out of five stars for its engaging content, slick design, multi-step approach to learning, and support by live teachers and automated feedback. “Versatility and flexibility are part of what makes Imagine Math so useful,” notes McQuillen. “Whether you use it as a tool for supplemental or primary instruction, it's likely best suited to individualized practice and reinforcement.”
Additionally, ninety-six teacher reviewers on the site gave Imagine Math an average rating of five out of five stars, saying the program is “great for struggling high schoolers,” “provides the right amount of support,” and is “differentiated, motivational, and engaging.” Providing an engaging format is important to keeping students interested in learning, especially over vacation, notes the Brookings report, suggesting that “offer(ing) engaging options for students over the summer …would set more students up for success.” Currently, over 1.7 million students in almost 8,000 schools across the US use Imagine Math with proven results. Read the full review here.
So, this summer, consider incorporating math practice into your vacation schedule, whether with hands-on math problems or digital math programs, to reduce the academic slide in your student’s skills and keep their mathematical gains on track for the next school year.