After a busy school year, the luxurious pace of summer vacation can be a welcome respite. There is time to sleep in, to relax, to spend time with family and friends, to take a well-deserved vacation, and to delve into hobbies and pastimes that the school-year months are often too jam-packed to accommodate. These weeks to rest and recharge are deeply necessary for students and teachers alike so that they can return to campus in September ready to work hard.
Unfortunately, a frequent byproduct of summer can be learning loss, often called the “summer slide” or “summer slump.” A recent report through the Brookings Institution explains that students can lose the equivalent of a month of learning over the course of the summer. Interestingly, losses tend to be more significant in math than in reading, perhaps because routine reading is more ingrained in our lives than the daily practice of math. Studies also show that learning loss increases as students get older. One theory around summer learning loss imagines a “resource faucet” that flows throughout the school year, filling students’ lives with books, ideas, conversations, challenges, and opportunities at every turn. When summer vacation begins, that flow of resources slows, and sometimes even shuts off, impacting the maintenance and furthering of their learning.
Luckily, there are plenty of fun activities and ideas to continue learning throughout the summer, and many of them can be done together as a family. The summer reading program at your local library is a great place to start, and you can also find summer reading resources and ideas through Bement’s library and Marcia Bernard’s recent blog post. Cooking together as a family and discussing recipes are great ways to build reading, number sense, and direction-following skills, with tasty results! Check out “Summer of Numbers” at Bedtime Math for a fun summer math program with daily math challenges, free apps, and lots of creative ways to work math into your daily routine. If you find yourself traveling this summer, you can listen to and discuss audiobooks with your children and encourage them to keep a travel journal or send letters and postcards to friends, family, and teachers.
For more ideas, visit the National Summer Learning Association’s Knowledge Center -- and check back here next month to hear more from our faculty and staff members about how they stay sharp over the summer!
If you are interested in doing some additional reading, here are some sites with other resources: