You might be familiar with this scenario. Your child goes back to school after a full summer full of fun in the sun. He is excited to make new friends, catch up with old ones, meet his new teacher, and make this year a stellar year. His first progress report comes home and you’re both confused. Even his teachers are concerned that he is falling behind. How did this happen? This is known as learning loss due to “summer slump”.
What is the dreaded summer slump?
Experts refer to summer slump as the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the summer when children are not in school. During summer slump, students lose the academic gains they made during the school year, which leads to regression and unpreparedness.
Is learning loss real?
Summer learning loss is very real. But don’t fret! It’s not necessarily unusual for students to experience a minor setback during the summer months if they are not engaged in learning. At the same time though, it’s not the end of the world. Children learn by living! They are natural explorers and curiosity is inherent in their young imaginations!
You might be familiar with this scenario. Your child goes back to school after a summer full of swimming, vacationing, fun in the sun, and sleeping in. He is excited to make new friends, catch up with old ones, and learn about his new teacher; but he didn’t engage in or participate in any academic upkeep during his break. His first progress report comes home and you’re confused. He was on grade level the year before, but now his teachers are concerned that he is falling behind. How did this happen?
Content-specific tips and strategies to combat summer slump
Reading and Language arts
- Help your child choose books that are of interest to them! Reading is absolutely the best way to combat the summer slump. When they are reading what they choose, they will be intrinsically motivated to actually read!
- Visit your local library. Libraries are always a great field trip for parents and children! Take advantage of all the learning loss activities your library offers to students during the summer months.
- Check out these free websites! There are many websites that are free for children to read various types of books that are age-appropriate and have engaging topics. The following websites are free for many age groups of children-Storyline Online, Epic! (free for 30 days), International Children’s Digital Library, and Oxford Owl.
- Take learning outside! Summer is a great time to learn in different ways. It’s a time of exploration and observation. Hiking, bike riding, and walking through different Maryland trails are a great way for children to see different types of trees, plants, flowers, and animals.
- Create a scavenger hunt (or find one online!). Your children can check off what they see and when they get home, they can write an essay about their observations. Experiment with your children!
- Allow your children to cook with you! Although it may sound silly, cooking allows children to practice number identification, explore fractions, and convert measurements. You can even take cooking to another level and have a neighborhood bake sale or lemonade stand. This is a great opportunity to reinforce counting skills, as well as identification and counting of money.
- Teach your child to set financial goals and budget to reach them! Does your child have a toy or adventure in mind that they’d like to have or do? Don’t rush to purchase it for them without having them work for it! When they complete their chores or assist with their younger siblings, provide them with an allowance and show them how saving up will result in them attaining the item or experience of their choice.
Here are some free online resources to combat learning loss and keep your children engaged this summer so they can learn and have fun simultaneously!
- MTT Education Station
- Storyline Online, Epic! (free for 30 days)
- International Children’s Digital Library
- Oxford Owl
- Khan Academy
MTT offers quality 1:1 tutoring from professional teachers
MTT offers a variety of learning loss strategies to combat summer slump. Our reading reinvigoration program allows students to select a book to read with their tutor and do fun activities based on the book’s theme. This option keeps reading levels strong, but also gives the student freedom to express himself in a way that is different from the typical school year assignments.
We also offer a math master program where students and tutors will work on honing foundational math skills, as well as learning new concepts that will both challenge and excite students as they apply their knowledge to everyday tasks.
Whether you want your student to engage in academic maintenance, or use the summer break to take her learning to a new and higher level, we look forward to serving you and preventing your child from falling prey to the summer slump.
Natalie Mangrum is the founder and CEO of Maryland Teacher Tutors. She is a reading specialist with a bachelors in elementary education and masters in education. As a parent to two young adults, and prior teacher, Natalie knows all too well the benefits of one-on-one tutoring and coaching for students. Her mission is to ensure that every aspect of MTT is done in a spirit of excellence! She enjoys alleviating the concerns of parents so they can breathe easy knowing their children are in good hands!