As the school year winds down, educators around the country are having the must-needed conversation about “summer learning loss,” — also called “summer slide” or “summer brain drain.” Regardless of the name, this summer subject is a problem for students and families — from kindergarten through middle school.
There is hope, though. Teachers can play a big role in educating parents on summer learning loss prevention.
If you are trying to explain what can happen during the summer, we’ll help. Students can press the pause button and no longer nurture the skills they have been learning throughout the year.
From science to reading to math, the summer can entice students to step away from their studies. When they return in the fall, teachers see summer learning loss.
According to Connections Academy by Pearson, researchers first formally studied the summer slide in 1996. Here are some key issues:
- The effects of summer slide are similar to missing one month of school in a child’s grade.
- Summer slide impacts math more than reading; it is even more impactful for math computation and spelling.
- Low-to-moderate-income students and families can feel a more significant impact.
As educators, we don’t want to take the fun away from summer or add more to a parent’s plate. However, we do want to see students succeed when they return for the fall.
If you are wondering how you can support parents to prevent summer learning loss, keep reading. We share five easy-to-apply tips to help students take a break from school without slowing down for the fall.
Choose reading that isn’t required
It sounds like school is back in session when we mention required reading. Remember — reading any book is of great value.
Encourage parents to partner with students in their reading selection. Invite them to pick an age-appropriate book. If their child wants to read books about dinosaurs, that’s wonderful!
Encourage parents to help their child learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction and expand on what they read. For example, take a trip to the museum to learn more.
Read with friends
Reading is cool — especially when others are also picking up a book. Book clubs and summer reading programs are another fun way to invite children to enjoy the adventure of reading.
They can connect with friends from school or make new ones at the local library. One of the most exciting parts of a reading program or club is looking back and seeing the accomplishments.
Parents will be amazed at how many books their children can read over the summer. Many programs also offer incentives such as prizes and other rewards.
Summer vacation with a vision
When families vacation, don’t let them miss a learning opportunity. Beware of the math summer slide, too. From counting seashells to naming the clouds, there are many STEM and STEAM learning opportunities.
There is no need to provide a formal lesson plan, so parents can take a deep breath. Instead, encourage parents to ask questions to start the conversation.
One of the best ways to plan is to purchase an age-appropriate book about a destination or a topic. Visiting an educational-focused destination, like a local museum or aquarium in the area, is another great option.
Open the classroom door — to the outdoors
Is your student’s family ready for a backyard hike or maybe a swim in the local lake? Encourage them to take a closer look at nature.
Students can wear an engineering hat to see how bikes tackle tough terrain. Students can even learn the difference between a humid day and a pleasant one.
By focusing on observing their surroundings, students will be amazed at their outdoor classroom.
Don’t stop learning
We have shared a few tips above to prevent summer learning loss. If parents stick to these ideas, they can cross off this last recommendation: don’t stop learning.
The classroom extends beyond the four falls at their child’s schools. Help parents use this break to show children the fun of summer while preparing them for fall.
Are you looking for a partner to help with the conversation? We’re here to help. Connect with us today!
Shaunda Douglas is a former educator with over 15 years of experience in all levels of education. In her free time, she reads, plays with her dogs, watches baseball, and loves a good nap.