What is Summer Learning Loss?

Kids look forward to summer for a number of reasons like going to the pool, playing outside, going on vacation, and, usually at the top of the list, taking a break from school. However, while breaks are sometimes good, the nearly three-month summer break from school can actually lead to something called summer learning loss. Here’s what summer learning loss is and how it can be prevented. 

Summer learning loss, also known as the summer slide, is when students regress while out of school in the summer and return in the fall at a lower academic level than when they left. Put simply, since they are not in school learning, they are not stimulating their minds and retaining the information they have already learned. This can lead to students falling behind and contribute to the achievement gap since summer learning loss especially affects children from low-income families.

Oxford Learning shares statistics on summer learning loss when no learning occurs during the summer:

  • 1 month of overall learning is lost
  • 2 months of reading skills are lost
  • 2 months of math skills are lost
  • It can take 2 months in the fall for students to recover from summer learning loss and re-learn what they lost

According to a study in the American Educational Research Journal, some students can even lose the majority of their learning gains from the previous school year. So, how can you prevent summer learning loss?

The first step is to make a plan for your child’s summer and stick to it. The plan should include 2-3 hours of learning every week and should incorporate reading books, activities using math, and other recreational activities that are still fun but involve critical thinking. Some examples of activities are:

  • A summer reading program with a certain number of books for the summer
  • Online and offline math games
  • Playing board games that use math skills
  • Going to zoos, museums, and nature experiences
  • Signing them up for camps, especially ones with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) focus
  • Letting them join a youth program in your area

You also want to let your child enjoy their summer by playing outside and interacting with other children. The learning activities should not stress them out but should be something enjoyable that will also help prevent summer learning loss.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to stimulate the minds of kids and prevent summer learning loss through our summer programs like Summer Brain Gain, Project Learn, and DIY STEM. Additionally, we offer our Summer Brain Gain: Read! literacy program to complement the larger Summer Brain Gain curriculum. We also supply Chromebooks and Amazon Fire Tablets for dedicated use by each member at their specific Club. Find out how to get involved by signing your child up, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!

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