Updated: May 9, 2018
Summer learning loss is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer holidays. The loss in learning varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.
Each year as schools close their doors and summer break begins, parents and educators may find themselves worrying whether their students’ past year’s academic advances will be lost. But even more worrisome are the effects this loss, referred to as The Summer Slide, can have on students with learning disabilities.
Summer Slide is the result of lost academic growth over the summer months and affects students of all ages and economic backgrounds. This phenomenon can result in a 25-30 percent loss of their school year learning. But for many students with learning differences, summer break also means a regression of social skills, and a deviation from routine, something on which different learners thrive. But unless your school system opts for year-round schooling, what can parents do to prevent losses in academic growth and social skills?
Maintaining daily routines, such as meal and bed times and social activities that occur during the school year may help alleviate the stress of transition. But summer break is also an excellent time to focus on tasks your student struggles with, such as learning new skills, or academic weaknesses.
Day camps and summer school are popular ways for parents to maintain routine, as well as strengthen weakened areas. These options combine the structure of routine, with the relaxed atmosphere of summer. Offering a multitude of interests, there is no shortage of summer camps within in our community. For students with learning and attention differences, The Hill School of Wilmington offers a five-week summer program to help avoid Summer Slide.
Whether choosing one of the above or another option, summer break should be a positive experience for students. Even with structure and routine in mind, summer break is a well-deserved reprieve from the pressure of the school year and day-to-day work.
Quinn, David M., and Morgan Polikoff. “Summer Learning Loss: What Is It, and What Can We Do about It?” Brookings, Brookings, 14 Sept. 2017, www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/.