Learning loss during summer break has been a concern of educators and parents for decades. Summer brain drain is a real thing, with the average student losing up to 34 percent of the prior year’s learning gains during the long break.
Fortunately, there is a lot that parents can do to keep their kids engaged and learning all summer. Studies show that while most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months – especially those in higher grades – children who continue to read instead gain skills.
That’s what recent graduate Aurora E. did to keep her brain in practice over long breaks. “Since I have a lot more time on my hands during the summer, I take advantage of slower mornings to read, and it doesn’t have to be factual books. Summer is the time to read fun books,” said Aurora.
Another recent graduate, Aspen A. points out, “There are a lot of non-school-related things to do this summer to keep learning, like exploring things outdoors, watching short educational videos on YouTube or listening to podcasts. Music works all parts of the brain – I play the guitar, which really helps me with my concentration.”
Here are more tips for parents and students to stay engaged and interested in learning all summer:
- Keep a journal. It’s a great way to remember how you were feeling, track growth and remember the small things.
- Try a daily puzzle like sudoku or Wordle to keep your mind active.
- Make learning fun by reading outdoors at the beach or park and plan visits to museums, libraries and cultural events.
- Let kids choose what they want to read, even magazines and comic books to help them develop a love of reading.
- Encourage kids to read the newspaper and current events magazines to keep up the reading habit over the summer and develop vocabulary.
- Set a social media time limit. Try to give yourself a daily limit to connect with friends, mindlessly scroll and get it out of your system. Don’t let your phone control your break.
- Learn something new. Just imagine going back to school in the fall and being able to play something on a guitar or speak another language!