All students experience some form of learning loss during the summer vacation months when they may not be participating in many educational opportunities.
Some facts about summer learning loss:
- Only about 10% of children in the United States do educational programs or learning services during the summer months.
- According to a Johns Hopkins study regarding summer learning loss students can have on an average two months or more of learning loss during their summer vacation.
- According to Summer Learning Loss.org “Two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years.”
- According to a study at the Johns Hopkins Summer Learning Loss program, conducted in partnership with Sylvan Learning Centers, 56% of children actually want to participate in educational opportunities throughout the summer.
- Last, but not least, research indicates that teachers can spend between 4-6 weeks teaching children the material they have forgotten over the summer.
Ten tips to stop summer learning loss
Here are some tips to help you help your child avoid summer learning loss.
- Read with your children, to your children and encourage reading alone. Many libraries and business provide summer reading incentives from certificates to prizes and gift cards.
- Get a copy of the recommended summer reading list from your school district. If you can’t; most libraries will have one available to you. Note the names of authors your children enjoy and go back for more.
- Use incentives to get them involved in academic programs. Reward their involvement with a special day, event or even have them work toward a special toy or video game they want.
- Participate in activities that you can’t fit in during your normal year, like going to the park or museum. Many museums offer free family days throughout the summer months making this an inexpensive learning opportunity. Other interest could include cooking or gardening, both of which help children with basic math and science skills.
- Write letters. It helps children with handwriting and spelling skills as well as organizing their thoughts. Use prompts for children 4 years and younger.
- Get children involved in the travel planning, everything from the costs to the mapping and activities when you arrive provides learning opportunities, keeps them involved during the travel and teaches basic live skills.
- Start a summer journal or scrapbook. These activities help children with basic writing, organization and math skills (for example when they are cutting out the shapes for pictures in the scrapbook).
- Discuss age appropriate current events. One of my son’s favorite learning opportunities what finding one article in the newspaper that we could all discuss at dinner time. Read letters to the editor and talk or write about your thoughts.
- Set a schedule for children and be sure to include both down time and learning activities.
- Use the web. There are many learning sites available online with everything from coloring online (teaching color recognition to young children) to math, reading and even science programs.
Not only will these activities keep your children from experiencing summer learning loss, but also make the transition back to school in the fall much easier.