Avoiding the “slide”: Summer math and reading challenges

(image from splashmath.com)This year, Southborough (and Northborough) schools are doing more to encourage students to avoid the “Summer Slide”.

Summer reading is traditionally a big part of that. But this year, the district is drawing attention to the need to keep math skills fresh, too.

trottier summer math program bFor middle schoolers, Trottier posted a special section on their website dedicated to summer math for incoming 6th-8th graders. There are multiple worksheets for each grade with corresponding answer keys. You can find that here.

Many younger students came home with different kinds of math sheets this summer. District K-5 math coordinators held a presentation for parents on avoiding the summer slide. It previewed the “game boards” sent home with students at the end of the school year.

greg tangs summer math funThe boards encourage kids entering grades 1-5 to complete math “challenges” over the summer. Those are mainly online math exercises and games found on a recommended math website. But there are also additional pages to pencil-in puzzles and games like “DigiCross”, a math based crossword. (If your kids’ sheets got lost in the end of school shuffle, click here for a grade appropriate packet.)

The presentation offered additional tips for keeping kids thinking mathmatically, like playing board and dice games, having kids calculate vacation and restaurant expenses, museums with math and science, etc. And they offered more recommendations for online tools. You can see the presentation here and the handouts here. You can also take a look at past math presentations and other math resources from the district K-5 math coordinators here.

As for reading and other skills, summer resources vary by school. Middle schoolers were assigned a book to read over the summer in preparation for discussions the first week of school.

Some younger kids came home with summer reading challenge sheets. For kids entering 2-3rd grade, there is also an online resource here for reading, writing, and vocab skills. And of course, the Town’s Children’s Librarian made her annual tour of the lower schools in June to pitch the Library’s summer reading program.

All of this is a small effort compared to what will hopefully be available to families next year. This past spring, the district promoted a STEAM summer program. But the program didn’t get off the ground in enough time to drum up the enrollees needed for this summer.

Superintendent Christine Johnson confirmed that the effort isn’t being scrapped, just postponed. They heard a lot good feedback about the offering and will try again for next summer.

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