How Do You Continue Academic Growth & Prevent Summer Learning Loss?
The summer months are a great time for reset, rest, and fun. A time to re-energizing after an engaged and productive school year. Your child learned and grew both physically and academically. While your child will continue to grow over summer with proper nutrition and rest, there is a good chance they may demonstrate achievement gaps once they head back to school if you and your child are not intentional with continuous academic exposure and learning opportunities.
Research shows on average students lose up to 30% of knowledge gained during the school year over the course of the summer, also known as the “Summer Slide.” There is also evidence to support that there is a concerning decline in their learning potential for the upcoming school year.
Does this mean having your child sit and produce work? Not at all. Below are tips on how learning in the summer can look like play:
- Make a commitment to continuous learning and taking advantage of organic teaching opportunities.
- This can be done on a daily trip to the grocery store. Have your child find items for you, compare prices, or nutritional information. Play High-Low with prices and numbers. Weigh items or count out a specific number of fruits or vegetables.
- Read, Read, & Read: Four to five books over the summer has the same beneficial impact as attending a summer program. Your local library is an amazing resource. Have your child join a book club. Research shows that students are more likely to be interested in books that they choose on their own. Whether your child is reading on their own or not, choose a book that you can read to your child. It provides the opportunity to expand their vocabulary, enhance reading comprehension, and model a love for reading. If your child is already an independent reader, introduce them to a book series. This can be a great way to encourage an increased volume to their summer reading and beyond. It can also be great talking points among friends when they return from summer break.
- Reading to your child is not only for bedtime. Read a book to your child first thing in the morning or bring a book to the park. Enjoy the relaxed days of summer and read! https://www.startwithabook.org/reading-aloud
- Go to the local Museum with your child. There are so many discoveries to be had. It opens learning opportunities far beyond the walls of the museum. Notice what sparks your child’s interest. Seek out books to dig a little deeper into what your child is interested in.
- Go on nature walks. Talk to your child about their findings and seek information to gain a greater understanding of their observations. Explore the various habitats. Identify plants, compare and contrast the various leaves and plant life.
- Visit your local zoo. The zoo offers many learning opportunities for children. They can be structured classroom lessons, or you can allow learning to flourish by walking around and observing the animals and reading the great information provided.
When we think of summer learning loss we should also think beyond academics. Physical fitness can also decline during the warmer summer months. Without the daily PE, recess and sporting activities your child may not get the physical outlet needed for a strong mind and body.
- Seek physical activities the entire family can do. Hiking, Biking, Walking a pet or swimming are just a few. What does your family enjoy doing together?
- Join a summer sports team. Soccer, Baseball, Swimming. Being a member of a team not only increases your child’s physical fitness level but can be a wonderful benefit to social-emotional learning and collaborative effort.
In short, Fall, Winter, and Spring are not the only seasons that learning takes place. Summer learning opportunities are all around us. It is fun, natural, engaging and in the moment. So don’t let your child fall victim to summer learning loss. Stay engaged with their natural love of exploring the world around them. They will show up to school in the Fall more prepared and excited for the year ahead.
About Sissy Witte: Sissy has served in education for over 20 years. She is currently a Primary II Lead Teacher and the Primary Department Head at The Fay School. As a mother of 5 children, all of which chose independent schools as their educational path, she is a firm believer in schools and families working closely together to develop the whole child.