How Parents Are Using Technology to Avoid the School “Summer Slide”

The days of only learning behind a desk are over. Keep students academically fine-tuned for the remainder of this summer vacation by encouraging them to pick up that phone or tablet to read and learn creatively. For more ideas, follow Rodriguez on Twitter at @estilofamiliar (Spanish only) or visit

When school is out for the summer, academics are the last thing on a kid’s mind. But not practicing important academic skills during the summer can cause real learning loss, according to the National Summer Learning Association.

“It’s called the education ‘summer slide’,” says Mayra Rodriguez, educator and founder of “Young children easily forget skills they don’t practice during vacation.” With school starting in less than a month for most kids, it’s not too late to add some education into the daily mix to ease the transition back to full-time learning. Fortunately, most parents have access to a handy solution.

“We can use a smartphone and tablet to search for content that transports us to places we can’t travel to,” Rodriguez said. “My son was studying Australia, and right after finishing his school lesson, he got on the tablet to watch videos [using GoogleEarth] of the Great Barrier Reef, the Opera House and Sydney. We may never visit them, but technology helped my son visualize the places he read about.”

Parents can find vivid graphics and rich sound capabilities on mobile devices like the HTC One (M8) smartphone and new XLTE-Ready Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 to encourage their children’s exploration. And there’s no shortage of animated and thought-provoking educational apps like Verizon Education Tools, Mathmateer, iTooch and bilingual websites like Brain Pop to create a fun mobile classroom at home, in the car or even on a plane.

Balancing leisure and academic activities during these last days of summer is key to avoiding the summer slide. “A good routine during these vacation months should have a little of everything for kids: play time, reading, trips, games and learning apps to practice math and critical thinking while out and about,” says Rodriguez.