As the school year comes to a close, you and your students are probably reflecting on your time together and looking forward to summer. The long break may mean that many students won’t continue to strengthen the skills they learned throughout the year. “Summer slide,” “summer learning loss,” or “summer brain drain” has been a concern studied in education for more than 100 years. Many students start the new school year farther behind academically than at the end of the previous year.
There are, however, many strategies that educators, parents, and caregivers can use to combat summer learning loss. Share these activities, apps, and resources with families to ensure that students continue to grow during the summer months.
Champion experiential learning through STEM activities
Summer is a great time to let students pursue their interests through experiential learning. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lend themselves especially well to hands-on activities. Common household supplies can be used to explore concepts of physics, chemistry, and engineering.
Students can use free apps and websites to practice math problems, learn to code, and play games to build their skills.
There are also free online events and activities during the summer catering to students’ various interests related to STEM.
Promote reading and literacy skills
The summer allows students to have more freedom in reading and writing about topics that interest them. Your local library probably has summer activities available, or students can develop literacy skills through programs like READS for Summer Learning or apps like Epic.
You can provide families with guidance on choosing books that will be a little challenging for students to read on their own. There are also benefits to parents reading to their children, especially if a book is more advanced. Be sure to highlight reading resources and tips in multiple languages to ensure all families can access the information.
Simple exercises, like having students keep a journal over the summer or reading a book or article and then writing a few sentences summarizing it, are great ways for students to practice writing skills.
Encourage biliteracy and global learning
If students are enrolled in a dual language or global education program, they don’t have to stop their learning in the summer. Short activities like these interactive quizzes about different countries can spark students’ curiosity and lead to further learning.
Dual language students can practice the target language throughout the summer by watching TV shows or movies in that language, going to cultural festivals, or visiting a store or restaurant where they can use their skills.
Students can explore the culture and traditions of the countries where the target language is spoken by reading books, watching videos, or other activities. Promoting literacy and language development can also be done with simple exercises at home.
However you encourage your students to learn over the summer, just a few minutes per day engaging in such activities can have a huge impact on how prepared they will be for the next school year. Invite your students to follow their interests and have fun with their learning. Let us know what you’re doing to combat summer learning loss on social media. We’d love to hear your ideas!