As summer quickly approaches, schools and teachers are implementing various programs to curb summer learning loss, which has been shown to be one of the leading issues in student achievement, especially in math.
For example, in California, a non-profit organization, Partnership for Children and Youth, is beginning its summer learning campaign, Summer Matters.
With support from state and local agencies, the campaign is seeking support from community members to expand existing summer programs. They are also looking to bring about an additional 50,000 programs serving underprivileged youth.
“We have to make better investments in our children,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said during a City Hall press conference Tuesday with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “It will never be only the school districts that have that responsibility.”
Studies show that summer learning loss is one of the major contributors to the achievement gap between students in affluent areas and underprivileged students. These programs are designed to close that gap.
“We are closing the achievement gap,” San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia said to The San Francisco Examiner. “That can’t happen unless we’re engaging with youth in the summer.”
Recent studies have shown that underprivileged children in urban and rural areas often do not have the same options at home that children in more affluent areas have. They often lack support from home, and often lose much of what they learned during the year.
This is especially evident in math, where students lose up to two months of grade level in math, with low-income students losing even more.
“The research is pretty clear that children from low income communities are suffering these learning losses in the summer at a much higher rate than upper and lower income children are just based on the nature of the things that they do and have access to in the summer,” Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of Partnership for Children and Youth said to KHTS News.
Unfortunately not every school offers these programs. This means it is ultimately up to the parents to provide their children with these summer learning opportunities.
Heather Lovell from LearningRx, a research-based brain training program dedicated to understanding how students learn and improve upon it, has provided in a blog post the following ten tips for parents to combat summer learning loss:
1. Get them involved in the local library or bookstore’s summer reading program.
2. At the beginning of the summer, ask your child what three new things they would like to learn about or learn to do this summer and set plans for how to make those happen.
3. Set aside half an hour each day for reading or completing some type of brainteaser, math worksheets, crossword puzzles, or logic puzzles.
4. When visiting someplace new, whether it is a new town or new country, spark your kid’s interest in the history, activities, or strange occurrences of the place.
5. Set strict limits on television, computer and video game time.
6. Make a rainy day toy box so kids don’t end up watching TV all day (raining or not!)
7. Consider registering your child for summer camps that encourage kids to use their minds on science projects, exploration, creative writing, music and art.
8. Use the summer to strengthen your student’s cognitive skills through one-on-one brain training to improve memory, visual and auditory processing, attention, logic and reasoning.
9. Encourage your child to learn an instrument or another language.
10. Buy or create a book of games and activities your children can play in the car.
Lovell explains that parents do not necessarily have to be teaching their children, but just need to offer activities that stimulate their minds.
“Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing summer learning loss and supporting their children’s education when school is out,” Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of Partnership for Children and Youth said to KHTS News in Santa Clara, Calif. “Fortunately, there are plenty of free and easy ways to engage children in enriching summer learning activities that will help them start the new school year successfully.”
James Dugan is a writer for 360 Education Solutions