Did you know, 84% of teachers say students forget or lose skills, knowledge, or grade-level equivalency over the summer? Here are some more scary facts, based on ongoing research conducted to study the effects of summer learning loss:
- students can lose as much as three months of reading skills without practice and enrichment and approximately 2.6 months of math skills during the summer months, due to lack of practice.
- Teachers spend approximately 22% of the school year re-teaching material and skills that students have lost over the summer months.
- Summer learning loss is cumulative, and students do not usually catch up in the fall. By the end of the 6th grade, those who lose reading skills during the summer are on average 2 years behind their peers.
- Two-thirds of the achievement gap seen in 9th grade students is caused by summer learning loss in early elementary school.
Here are some simple tips to encourage summer learning:
- READ! There are copious grade appropriate reading lists available online. Create your own incentive program at home and work through the list with your kids, rewarding them for milestones along the way.
- Employ "stealth learning" by finding learning opportunities in everyday activities, from cooking together in the kitchen to having children practice spelling and writing with to-do or grocery lists. Do the kids want to build a fort in the basement with couches and blankets? Engage them in a conversation about the desired height, width, and depth of the fort, or estimate how many blankets and pillows the fort will require.
- Summer savings are cool! For children with a summer allowance, help them create a budget to save up for something they want. They'll love to watch their savings grow and get math reinforcements all summer long.
- Reinvent writing! Make writing fun with a pen pal, writing a movie, creating comic books, documenting a family vacation, photo captions,etc.
- Graph everything! Charts and graphs can be applied to all kinds of simple tasks. Have your children practice math skills by taking surveys and charting their results or finding on thing to graph every day (perhaps graphing the weather).
- If your child is a workbook lover, make sure you pick up a basic workbook to keep their skills sharp! If your child is a workbook hater, try applying learning to real life. If you have a child who loves block play, for example, you can easily work on addition and subtraction, graphing, sight words, multiplication, patterning, or whatever other great concepts you can come up with using blocks.
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