Why Summer Learning Matters (and How Parents Can Help)

Research shows that if kids take a break from learning all summer, they can lose up to three months’ worth of knowledge from the previous grade—a phenomenon known as “summer slide.” By the time school rolls around, teachers end up using the first few weeks re-teaching skills that children have lost. That’s up to four months of lost learning!

So what is the most effective resource that you can offer your child to make sure he or she doesn’t lose those hard-earned achievement gains? That’s easy—it’s you! In fact, a study published in the Review of Economics and Statistics reported that parents’ efforts toward their child’s academic success has a bigger impact on their child’s educational achievement than the efforts made by either teachers or even the students themselves.

Even family attitudes towards education have been proven to have a deep and lasting impact on a child’s success in school. Studies have shown that kids respond to the effort exerted by their parents—so if they see you engaged in any way that is feasible for you, they’ll benefit.

So, what can you do that’s quick and inexpensive? Here are a few ideas:

Summer Learning Matters

  • Read aloud every day—it may be the back of a cereal box, the newspaper, or a book, but be sure to model reading every day.
  • Write every day. Write letters or stories—or even ask your child to help you write the shopping list.
  • Visit the library! To stimulate reading and beat boredom, borrow lots of different types of reading materials.
  • View road trips as a geography lesson—pull out a map and plot the route together.
  • Use every day errands as opportunities to learn. Review numbers at the grocery store, or try talking about fractions while dividing up a meal.
  • Most importantly, ask your child what he or she is curious about and make an effort to learn about it alongside your child.
  • Build your child’s confidence—sometimes thinking you can do something is all you need to be able to do it. If you tell your kids that you believe in them, they’ll be more likely to finish that project or tackle new skills all on their own!
  • Lastly, there are effective and affordable support materials available including our new Summer Brain Quest workbooks! Each book features 160 pages jam-packed with exercises on math, science, social studies, and English language arts, and includes a map, more than 150 achievement stickers, outdoor activities, reading lists, and more.

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