Summer Learning Loss Prevention: Engaging Students in Educational Activities During Summer Break

Summer learning loss can be a real issue for students of all ages. For all the parents who are searching for ways to keep their child active and occupied during their time off from school, check out Tutor Doctor’s guide for engaging students in educational activities during summer break!

The summer slide

The “summer slide” is a nickname given to a phenomenon widely observed by teachers and educators since the 1970s – put simply, many students “forget” a portion of what they learned the year prior after returning from summer break. 

Most parents aren’t surprised by this – after all, it makes sense that students tend to become “rusty” after not being inside a classroom for 2 to 3 months. What’s more surprising, however, is the extent of the learning loss itself. Here are a few quick facts:

  • Students experience the sharpest declines in math, followed by reading 
  • Summer learning loss is a major concern for K-8 students
  • A recent study of children grades 3-5 found that students lost, on average, 20% of their school-year gains in reading and 27% in math

The summer slide is a big deal, and even teachers need to find ways of dealing with it when a new school year starts. Research indicates that two-thirds of teachers spend at least a month reteaching students old material after their return from summer vacation. So, what can parents do to help students avoid summer learning loss?

Reading skills

Some forms of summer learning loss are more difficult to address, especially if the subject matter isn’t something students are likely to come across outside of an academic setting (math, for example). In other words, we have yet to see a student whose favorite pastime is solving algebra problems through summer vacation!

The great thing about reading is that it’s already a common leisure activity for many. As a result, encouraging students to read books on their own accord is one of the best ways to help maintain reading and writing skills during the summer break. Here are a few resources to get started:

Math skills

As mentioned above, math skills are a bit trickier to maintain. Encouraging your kids to read books is one thing, but asking them to practice math problems throughout summer break is, as one parent put it, “A losing battle.” So, what are your options?

Students are more likely to come across more complex subject matter – including math, science, and history – in an academic setting, typically with an instructor and a lesson plan. For this reason, we highly recommend parents consider summer tutoring programs as a way of providing your kids with an environment where they will be academically challenged. Learn more about how summer tutoring can help students:

Hobbies and extracurricular activities

Students can still keep their minds active even if an activity isn’t strictly academic. If you have a child who spends a lot of their down time on their phone or on the couch, encourage them to find an engaging hobby or outside activity they can really dive into! Here are some resources to help you brainstorm:

To learn more about how to beat summer learning loss, Tutor Doctor’s got you covered! Check out our handy reference guide for tackling the summer slide.