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Mel Gravely

Four Tips to Help Prevent Learning Loss this Summer

children_zooThe U.S. ranks 36th worldwide in education. Why are our students lagging behind counterparts across the world? Many studies attribute U.S. educational “underachievement” to taking summers off from school. Imagine if an athlete stopped training, he or she would see a significant decline in performance. The human brain is no different; it needs daily exercise to maintain learning.

Learning loss is inevitable when young, developing minds are idle for 3 months. Reading skills and levels are particularly impacted with research indicating that children who are not read to over the summer can lose up to three months of skills.

Here are some ideas to prevent learning loss.

1. Make Time for Learning
Set aside time for a child to read each day with you during the summer break — 15 to 30 minutes per day is all it takes! Your summer activities could include taking your children to the public library to check out books of interest and/or any summer reading groups they’d like to join.

2. Introduce flexible, unstructured learning activities
The researchers believe the most effective summer activities had certain things in common. They set clear learning goals, but they avoided teaching children in a traditional, institutionalized way. Instead maintained flexible schedules and teach children interesting new skills.

3. Cook with Your Children.
Reading recipes, measuring, and preparing can develop comprehension, math, and motor skills. In addition, children who engage in meal prep are more likely to eat different foods.

4. Trips to Museums and Zoos.
Museums are great resources for learning and most of the time, kids aren’t even aware they’re learning. Be sure to take your time and allow kids to read all of the great signs and graphics set up at each exhibit.

Fight back against summer learning loss – help children acquire new skills and build on existing ones this summer.

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