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.1

“Fortunately, there is a lot that parents can do to keep their kids engaged and learning all summer,” said Shellie Hanes, superintendent of schools at Learn4Life, a network of public high schools that offers personalized instruction and extra support for students who are falling behind. “One idea is to have kids research and create a budget for a family vacation considering sightseeing, activities and shopping they will want to do.”

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 Learn4Life 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.

Click to Tweet: Prevent summer learning loss and keep your brain in shape! @Learn4Life offers some tips and tricks for parents and students to #StayEngaged and interested in learning all summer! #SummerLearning #KeepLearning

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.”

Learn4Life offers these additional 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 while keeping your writing practice going.
  • 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 or 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!

“Kids can still have a fun-filled summer and not fall behind where they were in the spring,” said Hanes. “We need to show them that learning can be fun – whether in the classroom or exploring on their own and with their family.”

1 American Educational Research Journal, May 2020

Written By:
Ann Abajian
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