WTOP Interview – Tips to Prevent the Summer Learning Slide


Today I had the pleasure of being interviewed for a segment on WTOP radio.

You can listen to the clip below.



To read the transcript and an extra tip not included in the audio, read on!


Do kids really need to keep practicing academic skills over the summer?  Don’t they need a break?

As a parent you have to find a happy medium. Kids lose about 2.5 months in language arts and up to 3 months in math, so it’s important to keep them learning over the summer to avoid the slide. You can still have a summer full of relaxation, while weaving in summer learning.


Sometimes students have summer homework assigned by teachers. How do you get your child started early, to prevent procrastination come August?

WTOP Radio LogoWaiting until the last week of August to write an essay, finish a math packet, or read a book puts stress on everyone in the family. Summer assignments are meant to be done over a period of multiple weeks, if not months, and they are never done well at the last minute. A good idea is to sit down with your child at the beginning of the summer. Help him break down big tasks into manageable chunks. For example, if he has a 300-page novel to read, discuss a start date of when he’ll begin reading, and then the dates at which he needs to be to be about a 1/3, and then 2/3s of the way through. Jot these milestones down on a calendar that’s in a public place, such as the refrigerator. Check in a few days before each mini deadline to be sure he’s on track.


Speaking of reading, what are the hot books for kids this summer?

One of my favorite books of all time, and one that’s been a #1 New York Times Best Seller, captivating over a million readers is Wonder. Wonder is about a boy who was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school, but in fifth grade he starts at Beecher Prep and wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid. The story is told from the perspective of the main character but quickly switches to his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend and others. A great read for older elementary students and middle schoolers.

For high schoolers, Paper Towns, by John Green, the wildly popular author of The Fault in Our Stars, is top on the list this summer. The book’s movie adaptation is coming out in July, meaning it will be a huge hit with teens.

Regardless of which books they read, the magic number is four. Research shows that the summer learning slide can be avoided in reading when students read four books.


What about writing? How do you get your child to write?

I’ve found that because girls’ fine motor skills, such as handwriting, develop earlier than boys’, they’re more likely to want to write. But for boys, tying writing to sports can be motivating. “Through the Mail” is a method that encourages children to write to their favorite professional athletes in exchange for autographs. The website cardboardconnection teaches kids to write a persuasive letter for their best chance to receive an autograph back.


Math and More…

For tips on how to make numbers more exciting during the dog days of summer, check out my article, 4 Tips to Make Learning Math Fun This Summer. You can find more articles on cutting-edge ideas for learning on our blog.

Wishing you all the best for a fun-filled summer,

Ann Dolin