Unlock a Summer of Learning: Simple and Fun Ways to Prevent Academic Regression

The joy of summertime provides a much-needed emotional respite from the rigors of daily life. However, a study in the American Educational Research Journal suggests that students may risk losing substantial academic progress they made during the previous school year. An article by Boys and Girls Clubs, citing results from OnlineCollege.org, underscores the extent of summer learning loss when no learning takes place during the vacation period:

  • 1 month of overall learning is lost
  • 2 months of reading skills are lost
  • 2 months of math skills are lost
  • It can take 2 months in the fall for students to recover from summer learning loss and re-learn what they’ve forgotten.

The good news? You can prevent these losses with a simple plan for your child’s summer learning. The plan doesn’t need to be overly rigorous; just 2-3 hours of learning each week can prevent learning loss. Here are some ideas and resources that can be helpful to you as you think about what might work for your child and your summer schedule. 

  1. Consider the benefits of a tutor! In the summer, your child can focus on that one subject that’s been challenging to master amidst a full slate of other subjects during the school year. Just one hour a week of dedicated attention can help your child stay fresh or even discover new, intriguing aspects of the subject. You can hire a tutor through a tutor through an online service, or find a local teacher passionate about their subject and eager for some extra income and meaningful engagement. If you’re short on funds, there are also a number of tutoring resources for families whose budget might not allow it.  
  2. Try incorporating math and English into everyday activities. Math is everywhere – it just requires a bit of creativity to make children aware of it. Here’s an article offering 10 ways parents can integrate math into daily life. Playing board games that utilize math skills can also help your child stay sharp. Additionally, set aside time each week for your child to play online math games — a win-win for parents and kids! A fun way to maintain their reading level and familiarity with basic parts of speech is to play MadLibs, a game that generates amusing stories by replacing the original words in a story with new ones selected by the players. This site provides several MadLib stories, as does this similar site. These activities not only foster creativity but also offer plenty of laughter while your child practices reading aloud.
  3. Encourage experimentation and hands-on learning. Involving your child in everyday tasks such as gardening, cooking, or even organizing a pantry can stimulate curiosity and foster a deeper understanding of the reading, math, logic, problem-solving, and cause-and-effect principles inherent in life. For parents wanting to engage in their child’s learning but needing assistance with planning and preparation, subscribing to interactive kits is a great option. Ranging from $5-$100/month (average $25-$40), these subscription boxes offer vibrant, hands-on experiences delivered right to your doorstep. Here is a breakdown of the 20 best subscription boxes for kids in 2023. Interests such as cooking, crafting, software coding, science experimentation, art, fashion, and travel are all catered to in these kits.

With a bit of creativity and planning, the summer can transform from a time of potential learning loss to a season of enriching experiences and continued academic growth. Remember, any moment can be a teaching moment, and learning doesn’t always have to feel like ‘school.’ It can be as simple as incorporating math into a baking recipe, playing a word game on a rainy afternoon, or exploring a science concept through a hands-on kit.

As a parent, you have the ability to shape your child’s learning journey, even during the summer months. It can be fun to think outside the box and find unique ways to keep your child engaged and curious. We hope these ideas provide you with some inspiration and a starting point for your summer learning plan. Here’s to a summer full of exploration, discovery, and fun. You’ve got this!

About TLC

The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth (TLC) is a social enterprise company serving the Greater Philadelphia Area. Among its five divisions, TLC offers School-based Staffing Solutions, Mobile Coaching and Counseling, and Heather’s Hope: A Center for Victims of Crime. These major programs are united under TLC’s mission to promote positive choices and cultivate meaningful connections through education, counseling, coaching, and consulting.

About the Author

MaryJo Burchard (Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership) is co-founder and principal of Concord Solutions, a Virginia-based consultancy firm focused on helping leaders and organizations thrive while facing major disruption. Concord Solutions offers consulting, coaching, training, research, and keynote speaking surrounding trauma-informed leadership and assessing and building change readiness, trust, and belonging.

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