Parent’s Guide to Avoid the Summer and COVID Slide

Parent’s Guide to Avoid the Summer and COVID Slide

Posted on May 25th, 2020 by George Farmer

The long-awaited announcement has come, K-12 schools will remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. With this announcement comes the reality that students will remain home from March to September. Six months of isolation can push parents over the brink of exhaustion. What is also concerning is the impact of the summer slide given the prolonged six-month student layoff.

The summer slide describes the academic progress lost during the summer months. A more recent study discovered students lose academic gains and the higher the grade the more likely the loss of content. Another study found students in 3 rd through 5 th grade lose 20% of reading progress and 27% of mathematics progress in the summer. It is crucial to retain academic progress in the elementary grades as the content is foundational for student success.

The effect of the COVID-19 slide is expected to bring a larger gap when students return to school. The idea of a COVID-19 slide is speculation. However, there is reasonable evidence to suggest the slide margins will be significantly larger than the summer slide.

What is certain is the fact that students cannot afford to lose academic gains. The likelihood for parents to engage their children in academic learning during the summer is slim. This is largely due to fatigue that may set in because of the prolonged period away from school. Now more than ever, it is most crucial for children to preserve academic progress from the school year and close achievement gaps.

The key to engaging children in learning over the summer is through methods that ploy children into learning. Everyday tasks such as cooking and gardening can engage children in reading and mathematical concepts in fun practical settings. Planting seeds can involve measuring how deep the seeds are placed into the ground. Cooking provides unique opportunities to engage children in
mathematical concepts authentically.

The summer months welcome opportunities for playing computer and video games. Instead of fighting the uphill battle of hours spent playing video and computer games, place stipulations that involve the computer or apps that will engage students. Eliminating video games is not the solution, but incorporating academic engagement is crucial. The internet has a wide variety of resources to engage students in academic rigor. Finding resources to keep students learning during the summer can be
daunting, here are few resources that may be valuable for parents.

On-Line Resources

1. Starfall

Young learners may enjoy the interactive website Starfall. Starfall incorporates math and language arts skills combined with a game mode to keep students actively learning. There is a yearly subscription for the website but investing in the website for at least the summer can help close achievement gaps or sustain learning progress.

2. IXL

Mathematical concepts have evolved since adults were children. Rote memorization has been exchanged for understanding how students arrive at an answer and justifying their answers. IXL is a strong website for children in elementary and middle school to exercise their math skills. The website gives a detailed explanation of mistakes when the answers are wrong. Similar to Starfall, IXL does require a monthly subscription.


ABCYA is a website that combines common core standards while addressing math, language arts, and reading with entertaining games. The distinction with ABCYA is the incorporation of holidays, strategies, and skills sections. ABCYA is a free website that is compatible with mobile devices but does have ads. To eliminate ads a subscription is required.

4. Coolmath

If your child has difficulty with math, loves math, or falls somewhere in between, Coolmath is a good resource. Coolmath is a free website that explores various mathematical concepts for elementary students in a game mode atmosphere.

5. Epic

Reading can be a challenge for students, especially when children are forced to read topics they do not enjoy. Allow your child to unlock a passion for reading epic books. Epic is designed to engage students in reading various topics and genres that kids enjoy. Various features make reading convenient. Two of the features are its compatibility with mobile devices and the audio component that reads the book.

While some of the websites require a subscription, parents should contact their local school district to inquire about the school’s subscription. If schools do not have a subscription, explore the trial as the website could be a good investment for the family.

The summer will come and go in the blink of an eye. There must be a conscious effort to avoid children experiencing the summer and COVID-19 slide. Regardless of the decision to invest in the on-line
resources mentioned, asking who, what, when, why, and how questions are always effective measures to ensure children are learning.


  1. This is quite encouraging considering all that parents and children have endured over the past three months, as learners at all levels of academia were forced to be home schooled. Hopefully, learners, especially young learners will not be at too much of a deficit in the upcoming academic year. when they physically return to school. Thanks for a hope inspiring article.


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