At the end of another school year, many families breathe a sigh of relief. The hectic days filled with exams, class projects and extracurricular activities will soon be replaced with long days, warm nights and, hopefully, a little R&R. Don’t put the pens and pencils away just yet! It’s time to develop a plan to help prevent summer learning loss.
The term “learning loss” describes the phenomenon that takes place during the summer when students “lose” some of the education they acquired the previous school year. Studies estimate that students lose one to three months’ worth of learning during the summer vacation. This could put them at a disadvantage come September.
Here are some of the many things you can do to keep learning alive this summer.
Preventing Math Loss
Dr. Harris Cooper, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and author of an often-cited study on learning loss, says that students lose most when it comes to math.
No matter what grade your kids are in, you can help them prevent math loss by encouraging them to use such tools as measuring, budgeting and studying during the summer.
- Help smaller kids to retain fractions by asking them to help with cooking. Following recipes is a great way to practice practical mathematics.
- Encourage older kids to start a savings account.
- Have your kids watch grade-appropriate mathematics videos and other relevant content on KhanAcademy.org.
Preventing Reading, Writing and Comprehension Loss
Students need not lose language and comprehension skills during the summer. On the contrary, many summertime activities encourage students to build upon what they’ve learned during the school year.
- Join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.
- Visit your local library regularly.
- Encourage kids to read fiction and nonfiction books tied to the lessons they’ll be learning in the coming school year.
- Help kids to read toward their interests by introducing them to biographies of artists, writers, musicians, leaders and historical figures.
- Encourage kids to keep a journal about what they’re reading or doing, or about anything that is on their minds. A regular writing practice such as this will help them build the comprehension and critical-thinking skills necessary for success in school, in life, and in the ever-growing global economy.
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