A brain is a terrible thing to waste! So don’t let that happen.
Summer learning can help stop this critical loss.
Research dating back 100 years confirms the phenomenon often referred to as “summer slide.”
W. White, Reviews Before and After Vacation. American Education, 1906, 185-188
Research consistently shows that students (aka people) who continue to access learning material and opportunities over the summer months retain more of the foundation they gained during the school year.
Summer slide or summer loss affects all students but particularly those who are struggling in the first place. Those who continue to learn over those long weeks show dramatic improvement in the retention of information and the ability to reason and complete math problems as well.
“Differences in a child’s summer learning experiences during his or her elementary school years can impact whether that child ultimately earns a high school diploma and continues on to college”
Alexander, Entwistle, & Olson, 2007.
Not only can students slow or stop the summer loss, but they can learn new material to be better prepared for next year.
Imagine your child going back to class having kept the foundation from last year.
Walking proudly into school with the full knowledge that he or she is prepared to take on the challenges to come.
Over twenty years of tutoring children has taught me that their confidence and belief in themselves (that is honest belief – not bravado) provides the strongest impetus to improvement and success compared to anything else.
But wait – There’s more!
You can be any age to learn something new, refresh your knowledge, or gain brain synapses – improving brain function.
Yes, students can “train their brain.” Our brains are malleable – they can be adjusted. The way our brain communicates is complex; however, in very simplified terms, the dendrites and axons make connections via synapses (small gaps) between them. These synapses will grow and build when stimulated – in other words, when they are asked to do so through some kind of effort and performance!
Similar to your muscles, if you don’t exercise them – they weaken.
If you don’t use it – you will lose it!
How to avoid summer learning loss:
This cannot be overstated
Reading is so important. The choice of reading material is less a factor than the act and the follow-up.
Don’t read “blindly” – engage yourself with the material by talking about what you’ve read with others, look to learn more about the topic, write about what you’ve read, comment or blog about it. Use any method you like to make sure that you aren’t forgetting as fast as you are reading.
Also, remember the library – often free reading material of all kinds there!
Write a journal.
Write about what you have been reading (see above).
Start a blog about your favorite topic.
Write letters (astonish your friends and the world!).
Write some poems.
Visit museums, zoos, landmarks, grandparents, science centers, etc.
Yes, visiting and discussing the new facts, ideas, theories, and so one can be very helpful. This kind of learning stimulates multiple styles of learning including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic / tactile.
Why grandma & grandpa? Don’t forget the wisdom of the entire family. I’m only using these as representatives. Different points of view (acceptable to you or not) are important to develop stronger reasoning and decision making skills. People’s stories provide a different kind of context to the learning process.
Ask for opinions and comments on T.V. shows or Internet/video games, etc.
NOTE: Be sure to ask open questions not closed questions.
An open question invites more conversation, whereas a closed question generally elicits only a “yes” or “no” response.
Open question – “What did you like about the main character?”
Closed question – “Did you like the main character?”
Don’t be too quick to judge opinions (despite the lack of logic or maturity). It is just important to keep paying attention and engaging with material. A great deal of learning comes from talking it out and hearing one’s own ideas aloud. Self-correction tends to happen in stages.
Of course – a couple hours of tutoring per week can also help retain past lessons and help to prepare for the next year!
Note: This is not school! Students often complete more in a couple of hours a week than they did all week in the school year – leaving lots of time to play, ponder, lie on the grass and look at the sky – etc.
Come see what a professional tutor and personalized program can do for you or your child!
In-person and online tutoring available.
Phone: 519 824 0982
Alexander, K., Entwisle, D., and Olson, L. (2007). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap. American Sociological Review, 72, 167-180.
Borman, G.D. (2001). Summers are for learning. Principal, 80(3), 26-29.
White, W. (1906). Reviews before and after vacation. American Education, 185-188.