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How to Beat the Summer Slide

Summer programs for kids available for continued learning opportunities

MOUNTAIN GROVE –– Many children will fall behind in academics during summer break.  This phenomenon is often referred to as the ‘summer slide’.  

Teachers spend up to eight weeks at the beginning of a school year re-teaching skills that were lost during the summer.  Research found that children of low-income families lose two months of reading skills over the summer, while their higher-income peers make slight gains. 

According to the National Summer Learning Association, by fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave students of low-income families two to three years behind their peers.  This research also revealed that while gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, the gaps widen significantly during the summer.  Regardless of income, most students lost two months of math skills in the summer.  

There are many simple and low-cost options to help prevent the summer slide, including:    

  • Summer camp
  • Educational trips and projects
  • Math/STEM activities
  • Outdoor play
  • Community service 

Providing children with enrichment and educational opportunities keeps them engaged, making them less likely to suffer effects of the summer slide.  

4-H is a great way to keep kids engaged.  

“We still have traditional 4-H clubs in the area, but we also offer SPIN clubs.  SPIN clubs are limited-time, one project focus, unlike traditional clubs that have many project offerings and meet year-round.  Both of these delivery methods include options for community service, nutrition and health, and STEM.  4-H is the perfect way to help combat the summer slide,” said Janice Weddle, County Engagement Specialist in Youth Development for the University of Missouri Extension.  

A few summertime 4-H events already scheduled locally include: 

  • Ozarks Water Wings Stream Team meeting June 15th.  Participants learn how to observe local streams and conduct surveys that tell about the health of the water and the creatures affected by it.
  • Wranglers Horse Workshop June 8th gives youth, both beginner and experienced, hands on interactions and lessons on grooming, tack, and riding.
  • Quality Assurance training May 28th increases knowledge and awareness of food quality issues related to animal production.
  • Robotics day camp June 6th gives kids experience building and programming robots on Lego and various other platforms.

For more information on 4-H or to register for any of these events, contact Janice Weddle, at the University of Missouri Extension Wright County office at 417-349-4134 or via email at