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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Summer School Plan (How to Prevent the Academic Summer Slide)

summer board

Oftentimes kids lose some of their academic skills in the long summer break. This is especially detrimental to kids who already struggle in school. To counteract this loss and hopefully to help my kids make even more gains, I have come up with a plan for helping them to practice their academic skills during the summer. As a quick note, so you have a better context to think of when you read this, I have a nine year old son, a seven year old daughter, and a two year old daughter.

Here is my “summer school” plan that I do with my kids at home. We do this four days per week and on the other days they typically read a little bit and do some math practice or writing in some way. I give my two year old some toys to play with, some easy art project, or some coloring supplies while the older kids do the actual summer school plan.

Feel free to try out this summer school plan with your kids if you’d like or take parts of it that you think would benefit your kids. Spending a little bit of time on something frequently is often better than spending lots of time on something once in a while, so it is probably better for your kids to read for 10 minutes a day every day rather than for 3 hours one day once a month. Same goes for math and writing, too.

Our summer school to-do list:

  • Check-in Activity: Gratitude & Show and Tell
    • Research shows that expressing what we are thankful for helps our overall well-being. It will also set a positive tone for the summer school session (as compared to possibly starting out with a negative attitude about it).
    • Show and tell is just a fun way to let the kids have a moment to focus on themselves and to practice talking about a topic of interest to them which is a good thing, as well. This helps to make the educational experience more positive because the experience is paired with positivity and preferred items.
  • Writing
    • We started a summer journal. This idea was inspired by me finding a journal that I wrote when I was a kid. I thought it would be fun for my kids to have a journal to look back on about their thoughts and experiences this summer (and maybe in future summers, as well). This activity of course practices hand-writing and developing and writing ideas and stories.
  • Coloring/Drawing
    • My kids asked to have this activity included in the schedule. We do about 5 minutes of this activity. I like to have this less structured activity included in the plan. Art is a great activity for kids. Art can inspire creativity, individuality, and much more.
  • Reading
    • 20 minutes of silent reading. Reading is great, so I don’t really need to explain this one ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Worksheet
    • I have various worksheets that I’ve found online and have them printed off to give to my kids during this activity. I will have them work on math, reading comprehension, language arts, and whatever else I come up with. While doing worksheets, I want to especially help my son who struggles with attention and focus in school to be able to keep himself on track, to resist distractions, and to complete the task without much assistance from an adult (in this case, me).
  • Math
    • The kids practice math facts and math concepts on an App on their father’s Ipad. It’s a fun way to practice math and gets them exposed to math facts over the summer months.
  • Reading
    • 15 minutes of silent reading. It was 20, but I decided to decrease it to 15, because I don’t want the whole plan to take up TOO MUCH time.
  • Worksheet
    • Same explanation as above ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Spelling
    • My son struggled a lot with spelling last year and the school wasn’t really providing much for ideas of how to address the issue, but I will never believe that he can’t continue to learn new things. So, we are going to work on spelling over the summer.
  • Educational video
    • This can be anywhere from a one minute video to a half an hour or more video. It’s a good way to end the summer school session. Doesn’t take much thinking but they are still learning and they are learning about things I wouldn’t have necessarily been teaching such as science or social studies topics. I also provide a piece of paper in the area of the house that we do summer school where they can write down ideas they have for topics that they would like to learn about. Then, I have an easy way to come up with ideas for the videos and I just search for a video on YouTube and go for it. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Clean up
    • Of course, we need to clean up any mess that we made. And I think it is important for kids to learn to clean up after themselves and to keep up on cleaning rather than waiting for everything to become a disaster.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts about the summer learning loss that a lot of kids experience and especially how you help your struggling learners to get through the summer without getting too far behind in the next school year.

Thanks for reading.

Summer School Plan (How to Prevent the Academic Summer Slide)

Heather Gilmore

My name is Heather Gilmore. I am so happy to be able to have a space to share helpful insights and resources to other moms out there. Being a parent is hard work and I hope to be able to give you tips and strategies to make it at least a little bit easier and more enjoyable. We love our kids but any mom knows that they can also be exhausting and overwhelming at times, as well. I have a master's degree in social work. I work as a children's therapist. I am also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and work with children with autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, I am a freelance writer specializing in topics related to children and families. I have my own company called Hope Family Resources which provides resources in person and online to help families find greater hope, health, and happiness. See my site and learn more about me at: or email me at [email protected] I have also published books on Amazon. Search for "Discpline and Parenting Strategies for Kids with ADHD," "Have Peace: How to Have Peace in Your Busy, Chaotic Life," and "Sibling Rivalry: How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry so You Won't Have to Anymore,"

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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2016). Summer School Plan (How to Prevent the Academic Summer Slide). Psych Central. Retrieved on January 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Jun 2016
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