Why Summer Learning is important
When the final bell rings on the last day of school, kids’ focus on learning is quickly replaced by summer activities like swimming, bike-riding, amusement parks, and playing with friends. Think continued learning over the summer months is optional? Think again.
Children who lack access to learning opportunities over the summer months are much more likely to experience major learning loss, or “summer slide”. When school resumes in the fall, many have fallen behind and struggle to make up ground on their peers who continued learning throughout the summer months. For students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the cumulative effect of the summer slide over several years can be devastating, contributing significantly to the achievement gap that plagues school districts throughout the U.S.
Specifically, summer learning loss puts students from disadvantaged backgrounds up to three years behind their peers academically by fifth grade, according to findings from the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). By the beginning of high school, summer learning loss in the elementary school years accounts for up to two-thirds of the achievement gap between students from low- and middle-income families. And, when children fall behind academically, they are less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to attend college, and less likely to land a lucrative job in adulthood.
Fortunately, summer slide can be avoided when schools, parents and kids work together to continue the learning process during summer break. One such way is simply reading. Reading is an easy and effective way to engage kids in summer learning. In their report, “The effects of summer reading on low-income children’s literacy achievement from kindergarten to grade 8: A meta-analysis of classroom and home interventions,” researchers James S. Kim and David M. Quinn analyzed at-home and classroom-based reading programs for students for K through eighth grade students. Their research found, on-average, summer reading programs are effective at raising test scores. The effect is most prominent for students from low-income backgrounds—likely because this group of students is most adversely affected by summer slide.
What’s more, parents don’t need to enroll their children in expensive summer camps to spark summer learning. In fact, the opposite is true. In her report, “Socioeconomic Gaps in Children’s Summer Experiences: 1999 to 2011,” author Kathleen Lynch found engaging in learning activities, such as independent reading or reading with parents at home, to be better indicators of summer reading progress than attending summer camp.
On July 12th 20188, NSLA is celebrating both its 25th anniversary as well as National Summer Learning Day (NSLD) which is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of keeping kids safe, healthy, and learning throughout the summer. All summer long, students, parents, teachers, advocates, and community members can help raise awareness of summer learning by participating in one of hundreds of summer learning events and programs across the US.
You can also enroll children in a formal online program. encourage creative writing by writing about favorite summer excursions, sharpen math skills with grocery shopping or cooking activities, or even learn a new language. Regardless of which method you select, the bottom line is, if you care about your child’s personal and academic success, summer learning should never be considered optional. K12 Educators Inc is here to help guide your child all year long with anything they need to succeed.