The final days of the school year are met with excitement from students across the nation. Children rush out of classrooms as the final bell rings and happily welcome the summer heat.
School is finally out!
While students partake in summer fun during June and July, they also experience a decline in knowledge, known as summer learning loss. But experts say parents can play a pivotal role in maintaining academic skills during the summer break.
Summer learning loss impacts students from low economic families the most.
Each summer, low-income youth lose two months worth of reading and math skills in comparison to their higher-income counterparts, who make slight gains.
By the time children hit fifth grade, they can fall nearly three years behind as a result of summer learning loss. Losses can compound over the years and spill into adulthood.
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) hopes to provide ways to minimize the loss and close the achievement gap. The nonprofit organization tries to foster summer learning opportunities for youth through community and political outreach, said Nancy Levesque, communications for NSLA.
Keep the Learning Going
The NSLA encourages parents to collaborate with their kids to keep them learning over summer. Levesque recommends making learning fun and listening to suggestions children might have on ways they’d like to learn.
“Some really important tips for making learning fun for kids is ‘youth choice and voice,'” Levesque suggested. “Let them choose the books they want to read, the science experiments they want to try, etc. Make sure what you are encouraging them to learn incorporates their interests. Involve the entire family and/or their peers.”
With the academic ranking of students in the United States falling behind on the international stage, experts urge year-round learning in simple and creative ways.
During the summer months, children also gain weight two or three times faster than during the school year. To promote healthy habits, NSLA calls for parents to encourage children to remain active and push aside technology.