Although summer learning loss is already an area of concern in students, the recent early closures of schools due to COVID-19 has the potential to significantly worsen the problem. To help offset the summer slump, here are some parent “hacks” to help kids avoid learning loss over the coming months.
The problem: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many students will return to schools this fall after having not been in a classroom for over 6 months. Current research projects that students will return in fall retaining approximately only 63-68% of their learning gains in reading and 37-50% in math (in comparison to a regular school year). This will create a lot of variability in students’ academic abilities come fall, and teachers will be faced with the difficult challenge of continuing grade-level curriculum while also playing “catch up.” So, how can parents help smooth this transition?
1. Enroll in an online summer school program. Check with your child’s school to see if summer school programs are being offered this year. Academic extension programs are an excellent way to help your child keep their mind occupied during the summer months, and many schools have made the switch to online instruction. For older (high school) students, summer classes are also a great way to get required elective courses out of the way. Schools are taking different approaches to summer programs given the current situation, so we recommend contacting your child’s school for more information.
2. Download learning apps. Learning apps are helpful in that they are designed to be fun and engaging. Kids feel like they’re playing a game, so it’s easy to motivate them to work through a lesson. Many learning apps also allow you to choose the grade level for any particular subject – this is helpful to ensure your student is on track, and will also reveal areas where more practice is needed. We recommend using apps (like Khan Academy, for example) that feature grade-level “missions” aligned to the common core standards.
3. Purchase practice workbooks. Much like learning apps, practice workbooks can be purchased at specific grade level requirements. We recommend using practice workbooks in addition to interactive software or a learning app – for example, “15 minutes on the tablet, 15 minutes on practice problems.” Apps do a great job of teaching information, but independently completing exercises is just as important for students to solidify what they have learned.
4. Encourage reading. Reading keeps young minds engaged, and literature in any form is beneficial to children. Reading helps to provide academic support even if the material itself isn’t strictly educational (fiction novels, for example). We recommend that kids read as much as possible during the summer months!
5. Have them work with a tutor. Tutors are able to create a learning plan that works specifically for your child. By identifying subject areas that the student is struggling with or specific learning gaps, tutors have the unique ability to go back and revisit difficult concepts that require extra attention. The tutors we work with are fully versed in common core standards, and we create individualized instructional programs tailored to each student’s needs and learning style. Given current social distancing guidelines, online tutoring is a popular option right now! To learn more about Tutor Doctor’s online tutoring opportunities, click here.