A student could lose as much as three months’ worth of knowledge over the summer if they don’t have some form of learning around them.
The Summer Slide is a very real thing, and it’s one of the reasons more parents are investing in tutoring over those dog days of summer to ensure their student doesn’t lose important knowledge they gained during the school year.
“Experts say it takes two months to re-engage all of that prior knowledge before you can add on to it,” said Sandy Tutwiler, Owner of Tutor Doctor. “You see a lot of schools reviewing last year’s material the first few weeks, and that’s really for those students who didn’t spend the summer in some form of learning. It’s harder for them to re-engage.”
Students who hold onto that learning and even grow during the summer not only have an edge in the classroom, but are more confident.
“It gives them the confidence that when they start school, they are ready,” Tutwiler said. “They get more out of their experience in the classroom, as they are more engaged.”
How summer tutoring works
Throughout the month of May, Tutor Doctor, which serves students in North Dallas, is registering students for their summer tutoring programs, which teach everything from reading to math. The programs provide students with weekly one-hour sessions that are customized to the student. You can learn more here.
For elementary students, tutoring typically focuses on both reading and math, while older students spend more time on writing, Tutwiler said.
“The summer is when we get really creative about learning, since there is no homework and no reports or projects are due,” she said.
For example, students who need to work on writing can watch a movie and then write a review. Or if they read a book or watch a play, they can write a different ending. Even with science there are opportunities to get creative and perform experiments that are not tied to traditional classroom learning.
So who is the tutoring right for? It spans anyone who is struggling in a specific area to someone who just needs to build a little confidence for the upcoming school year.
“This is a chance to have one-on-one interactions where students can feel better before they move into a new grade,” Tutwiler said. “During class, everything is going so fast that this can help slow it down.
Christie Gallagher, who has taught in Allen ISD for the last 10 years and tutors students with Tutor Doctor, said she has seen the impact the summer program can have on a student’s growth.
“One-on-one tutoring is ideal in the summer,” she said. “It helps me pinpoint the child’s exact needs and target my instruction to those needs.”
Tutwiler explained that the transition from elementary to middle school can be challenging because there is less hand holding. Summer tutoring can help get students ready for that transition.
Gallagher, who has been a tutor for a decade, said Tutor Doctor makes every effort to match students with teachers who are experts in the area that addresses the child’s needs
“When I meet a new student I already know their background and specific details about their learning styles, strengths, and goals, because of how Tutor Doctor matches students to tutors” she said. “After each session, tutors write a report detailing what they worked on and the progress that was made.
There are lots of success stories that Tutwiler is able to share about students excelling after taking part in her tutoring. One example included a young girl who was a half grade behind in reading. Her parents started noticing how much the sessions were helping her. They kept their daughter in tutoring when school started, and she ended up advancing past the grade level she was supposed to be at, Tutwiler said.
“We really relied on programs like we offer when school fell apart when the pandemic started,” she said. “Students lost so much knowledge during that time period, that tutoring really helped bridge that gap.”