By Deborah Williams
We hear this every year around this time: Summer relaxation means that most students will fall behind about two months in their academic performance, and their teachers will need to spend several weeks re-teaching and reviewing material to make up for the loss. With America’s mediocre standing in global education, this is wasted, precious time that keeps our students there. Rebecca Klein reports in her Huffington Post article “Summer Learning Loss Study: Can ‘Summer Slide’ Be Prevented?” that a recent survey from the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) shows that the majority of the survey’s teacher respondents believe that the losses could be greatly reduced if students were involved in some type of summer learning program.
While he agrees that the summer is a great break from school, NSLA CEO Gary Huggins does not believe that is should be a break from learning. He encourages student participation in “enrichment activities with real academic rigor, connected in a line with what districts are trying to accomplish.” If your child is unable to participate in such programs this summer, here are some ideas of how to help eliminate summer brain drain:
- Start a family book club. Each person in the family takes a turn reading the same book and then they discuss what they liked and disliked at a meeting.
- Make visits to the public library. The summer reading programs, book readings, and scheduled events that are part of the library’s summer reading promotions can be a great way to engage students.
- Recruit a little planner. Allow your children to help plan some aspect of the family’s trip this summer by giving them maps, brochures, and guides so that they can offer suggestions for the trip.