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How To Beat Summer Learning Loss

The final school bell is right around the corner, and while many students are counting down the days until school is out, some parents and educators are starting to worry about summer learning loss. 

What is summer learning loss?

Summer learning loss is the loss of the skills that a student learned during the school year over the summer vacation. This occurs when students don’t use or practice the skills they recently learned and results in students returning to school at a lower academic level than the end of the last school year. Foundational research in the late 1980s and 1990s demonstrated summer learning loss for all students, especially students from low income families, and in the subjects of reading and mathematics. 

Preventing summer learning loss

Sources say that it only takes 2-3 hours of work per week to prevent summer learning loss. This work can take many forms, and it’s helpful to focus on topics and subjects that you or your student struggled with during the school year. Research has shown that creative activities can also increase academic and emotional success, as it functions to improve thinking at a higher level and the development of other skills. Physical activity is also known to improve academic performance, so being active during the summer will also prevent summer learning loss. In sum, just 2-3 hours of work per week will help your student stay ahead of the game when fall comes around and strengthen all areas of their learning. 

There are various ways to integrate learning over the summer. Some tips and suggestions include:

  • Educational apps and games span a variety of subjects, including math, English, and science, providing a focused and fun approach to continuing learning over the summer. 
  • Family game nights that include brain-strengthening games like Cranium, Scrabble, Monopoly or card games are also a way to keep the brain muscles strong and active.
  • Streaming services offer a wide variety of educational series and documentaries that make learning fun and entertaining. Plus, these options cater to specific interests that you or your student might have.
  • Experimenting with recipes and working out the measurements is a practical and hands-on way to stay sharp with mathematical and science skills.
  • Cultural and educational events can also foster learning and spark curiosity in the history, science, and other aspects of your community.

Ultimately, students and families must take a “use it or lose it” approach to learning over the summer. For many students, these next few months offer an important period of time to catch up to their peers or get ahead of the game and become a higher-performing student. With appropriate and consistent learning opportunities, students can be effective in recovering lost ground or setting themselves up for success next school year.