Happy Friday! We hope you and your family are having a fantastic start to the summer, filled with plenty of time outdoors, even if it has been cooler than usual.
What is "Summer Learning Loss?"
There are plenty of reasons kids look forward to summer: playing outdoors, hanging out with friends, movies/TV, and video games. Reading and practicing math doesn't make the list for most of our children. This isn't unusual or necessarily bad. After all, some time to rest, relax, and recharge is probably beneficial, but unfortunately, for many children, this can impact them academically.
Summer Learning Loss describes the decline of academic achievement scores by, on average, one month's worth of school learning. While this affects all school-age children, it is more pronounced for children in higher grades and affects math scores more than reading scores.
While this knowledge can cause us to feel somewhat guilty about all the extra TV, video games, and socializing kids seem to engage in during the summer (especially for working parents), there's no reason we should beat ourselves up about it, and there are some things we can do to minimize the "summer slide."
6 Evidence-Based Tips to Prevent Summer Learning Loss
- Get started on a summer reading program, and make sure your child is reading interesting and challenging books.
- Set aside some time to review mathematics concepts (there are plenty of great iPad apps and programs in the area- such as Kumon)
- Develop spatial skills through spatial rotation games and construction play (tangrams, legos, and puzzle-based games)
- Take trips to museums, zoos, and nature sites. But don't merely attend. Help children enjoy hands-on experiences and engage in family conversations.
- Choose STEM summer camps that emphasize informal, hands-on learning.
- Let kids explore interests that don't fit into the standard school-year curriculum (most kids love YouTube, and although we may typically restrict their time or access, consider letting them explore educational videos on topics of their choosing with supervision)
This is not an exhaustive list of things you can do to engage your children in academic learning this summer, but we hope it is a helpful starting point.
For questions, ideas, or additional school-related help, please get in touch with our executive director- Frank McCormick- who was a teacher for over a decade at both Waukegan High School (literacy-based social studies instruction) and Loyola Academy (honors history program).
Frank can be reached via email at [email protected]
Stay tuned for more helpful tips this summer!
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