It’s summer vacation, and your child is probably happy to spend his or her days lounging and recuperating from the hectic school year. A break is well deserved, but Dr. Ray Huntington of the Huntington Learning Center urges parents to engage their children in learning activities to avoid summer regression. Put simply, summer regression is the loss of academic knowledge gained throughout the school year. “Learning loss or the ‘summer slide’ among students over summer break is a very real problem that we see often,” says Huntington, adding that most students can lose several months of grade-level equivalency in math and reading achievement during this period. He offers several ways for parents to help minimize summer regression:
Read daily. A daily reading habit is one of the easiest ways for children to keep their brains in shape over summer and deter any loss of reading ability. Incorporate reading into the summer routine. Check out book clubs or summer reading programs offered at your local library or book store. Visit the library every week. Start a series as a family and read a book together.
Write often. Writing frequently will help your child keep up important literacy skills such as self-expression and vocabulary acquisition. While you might have trouble convincing your child to write essays or book reports this summer, creative writing or journal writing still has many benefits. It encourages creativity, problem solving and experimentation with various types of storytelling, and also improves communication skills.
Plan educational visits. Don’t forget that visits to your local history, science, art and other museums are fun learning opportunities. If you’re taking any vacations, incorporate a family field trip to an interesting monument, historical site or museum in the area you’re visiting. Before you go, check out books from the library about the place or topic that you can read together. Use the plane or car ride home as a chance to reflect on the visit, what your child learned, and what he or she wants to learn more about.
Set aside daily learning time. If your child does best with a learning routine, consider purchasing grade-specific workbooks that your child can work on throughout the summer. The goal of these programs is to help students practice and maintain skills they acquired all year and prevent them from losing those concepts due to inactivity. Your school or teacher might have recommendations, but books such as Summer Bridge, ThinkStretch and Summer Fit are worth consideration. Just 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference.
Enroll in a summer learning program. Whether your child struggled this school year and needs to catch up or you want to help your child build new skills and confidence, an individualized summer tutoring program is a great solution. Huntington can help your child maintain skills, improve habits and prepare for a smooth transition into the next grade.
“Parents can help their child minimize regression this summer by investing a small amount of time into learning activities,” says Huntington. For ideas on how best to engage your child, call Huntington Learning Center at 1-800-CAN-LEARN.