26 May 2017

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

Last weekend at the first official Rooted I Parents event, Karen Hussey and Tracey Wozniak shared important tips for preventing “summer slide” in students of all ages.  Most students lose part of the year’s learning during the summer months, and parents have to spend time making that up at the onset of the new school year. Here is a synopsis of the great information that was shared.

“Forgetting over the summer isn’t a big stretch for me” said Karen. What I was surprised to discover was how much can actually be lost. Summer learning loss, also known as the “summer slide,” can actually account for 1-3 months of lost skills and information. The loss is the most obvious in math, but reading, spelling, and vocabulary are closely behind. My solution for the past few years has been to give them books to read and have them do math workbooks and call it a day. However, according to the research, that isn’t enough for real growth. In order for that to happen, interaction needs to be part of the learning process. So, what can you do? Glad you asked. Here’s a list.


  • Let students choose books to read that they will enjoy and that are at or slightly above their reading level.
  • Talk about these books, ask questions, read the books when they are finished.
  • Let them do something fun–write to the author (authors love that), bake a themed book cake, decorate a t-shirt, create a game.

Math: You may have to stick with math worksheets to some degree, but you can also go out of the box when scheduling math time.

  • Give your child a budget and a list for groceries, service projects, or back to school supplies and ask them to try to get the most for the money.
  • Does your teen need some re-design in his or her room? Have them measure and plan the layout, shelving, or anything else they need.
  • Play games together like Yahtzee or Monopoly or online games like Fruit Splat or Math Man (both on Sheppardsoftware.com).
  • Recipes require measurement, as well. (And the rewards are delicious.)
  • Planning a future business and thinking about budgets, marketing, and profit would also help them to see math in the real world and grow their skills.

Bible: With the more relaxed schedule of summer, sometimes we forget about the importance of planned God time.

  • We learn well what we teach to others. How about having your older children volunteer at a VBS or other church program?
  • Summer is a great time to let them decide who they want to serve and how they plan on doing it. (Mine decided on a spare change drive to help the animals at Pet Alliance in Sanford. After collecting all the spare change they can, they will roll it, cash it in, and we will use it to buy items on the organization’s wish list.)
  • Purge and donate. We all have stuff we don’t need. Take the time in the summer to go through clothing, accessories, school supplies, and entertainment and donate to thrift shops that benefit great causes.

Summer should be a break; it should be fun and relaxing. But with just an hour or two a day, it can also be a time to prevent learning loss and grow instead. What an opportunity!

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.  Proverbs 23:12

Research and Resources:






Thrift Stores:




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