One character from Greek mythology who shows up frequently as a symbolic meme is Sisyphus. He was condemned by Zeus to spend eternity rolling a massive rock up a steep hill, only to lose his grip on it when it neared the top and watch it roll down the hill so that he would have to start all over again. So close, yet … The story of Sisyphus is meaningful in many of our modern-day efforts in which we can never seem to reach the finish line without losing what we’ve gained.
Education can be like that. A student spends months learning a curriculum and getting ever closer to the pinnacle of this knowledge. Then comes summer break. It is a happy, carefree time for most, but what of the learning time lost, the concentration broken, the train of thought derailed? Ask any athlete the price they pay for losing their momentum.
The beginning of the new school year can be a struggle to regain what was lost during the summer break. Instead of hitting the ground running, as should be the case, a student may need to devote considerable time and energy to catch up to the level which the student worked so hard to attain only a couple of months ago. Children can lose anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of the school year’s learning over the summer break.
But this doesn’t need to be the case.
Common Solutions to Combat The Summer Slide
Ask any educator to advise how to prevent a critical loss of learning due to the summer slide, and the first thing they’ll suggest is reading. Community libraries usually have summer reading programs to keep students engaged in the learning process and win the battle for kids’ attention spans waged by trivial online activities. Creative family outings, well-designed board games and frequent visits to museums are other home remedies for brain slump. But that assumes that the child has amazing discipline in the middle of the sun and beach season. There’s a lot of competition for a student’s attention.
Power Programs to Prevent The Summer Slide
The Learning Lab has developed a number of helpful programs to prevent the big slide. But these programs go much further. For example, if your student struggles during the school year from inherent learning differences that make daily study a challenge, we can also address that.
Just the Boost Your Child Needs.
The Summer Programs at the Learning Lab help students make learning gains even during the “downtime” of summer break.
The FLEX program can help them maintain the momentum they had built up over the past school year and therefore enter the next school year with a higher level of self-confidence and preparedness. As a highly individualized program, the FLEX plan can deliver a light course to keep the learning fresh or provide heavier content, depending on the needs of each child. The program’s focus is on basic skills that might slide over the break, such as math, reading comprehension, reading fluency and writing.
The SMART program, however, has a little more kick to it. Some kids can fall behind anyway, and the summer gap only worsens matters. These students need extra help. The SMART track provides a six-week intensive literacy program.
Significant Help is Available.
The SMART program can offer highly focused help to students who may be facing these learning differences, whether formally diagnosed or not:
- Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)
- Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)/Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
- issues with phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency
- issues with reading comprehension, working memory and critical thinking
- issues with grammar, sentence structure and essay writing
The SMART Principle.
The SMART program is based on the SMART Goals System.
S is for Specific – Some students are pushed to achieve unrealistic goals designed for the broader student body. Specific goals that are in tune with the student’s distinct abilities can work much better and help to increase self-confidence.
M is for Measurable – Program metrics reveal a student’s progress or highlight areas that require extra help. That way, we can monitor whether students are moving toward their daily measured reading goals. The program can alert teachers when interventions are needed or when to celebrate the student’s hard-earned gains. When students can see the rate of their progress, they have much more motivation to proceed.
A is for Attainable/Achievable – It is essential to set the student’s goals to a level that is actually attainable by that student; otherwise, frustration and lack of self-confidence will take their toll. Reading challenges are carefully matched to each student’s abilities.
R is for Relevant – As each student’s learning journey is highly personal and unique, the curriculum chosen needs to be customized to that student.
T is for Time-bound – The program’s schedule is based on the FITT Principle:
The FITT Principle.
F is for Frequency – 5 days per week over 6 weeks.
I is for Intensity – Daily individualized instruction on a one-on-one basis.
T is for Time – A total of 90-hours of remediation in language, literacy and learning.
T is for Type – Relationship-based, personalized, adaptive and FUN.
Don’t leave your student rolling that huge rock uphill all alone. Talk to us at The Learning Lab today and prepare for your child’s most successful summer ever.