Combating learning loss during summer months

Learning loss is a phenomenon that effects students.
Learning loss is a phenomenon that effects students. (iStock / Liliboas)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.

Summer vacation is the highlight of the year for most kids, but between sleepovers and beach time, it’s important to keep your child mentally stimulated to prevent a serious risk to their education: summer learning loss.

Learning loss is a phenomenon in which children lose vital academic information from the previous school year during an extended break, resulting in them starting the next school year unprepared and falling behind in the classroom.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, students can digress two to three months in their academic skills during vacation, especially in the fields of mathematics, spelling and reading comprehension.

This can be especially detrimental for young students because it puts them behind in their reading skills.

From kindergarten through third grade, children are generally learning to read. But from fourth grade on, they need to be able to read to learn. Studies show that if students are not at reading level by fourth grade, they are four times more likely to leave high school without their diploma.

Communities In Schools of Jacksonville combats learning loss by assisting children with maintaining their knowledge during the summer days. CIS works closely with local schools to help students stay on track both during the school year and summer.

Dane Gilbert, director of case management at Communities In Schools of Jacksonville, says that parents should be proactive by assisting their students in retaining their academic skills in reading and mathematics, the areas that teachers say are the most critical. 

Experts suggest that parents can take steps to ensure that summer loss does not affect their students: 

Make time for learning in your schedule. Turning day-to-day activities into lessons is a great way to incorporate learning in a busy household.

-  Engage their natural interests. If your child takes an interest in a certain topic or activity, encourage them to explore their interests in an academically engaging way.

- Develop a summer reading challenge. Local libraries and schools offer reading challenges through the summer. Parent should encourage students to participate with an incentive upon completion of the challenge. 

Summer is always a fun time for children and parents, fun and learning can both work in harmony during  the summer months.