What is summer learning loss and how do I prevent it?

School’s out! This means a couple months of no homework and no worrying about grades, just relaxing and having fun. A break from school can lead to summer learning loss. In this post, we’ll talk what summer learning loss is and how to prevent it.

What is summer learning loss?

Summer learning loss means that your child might lose some important skills and knowledge they learnt over the school year and when school is back in session they may feel a bit lost and their grades might decline. This can be detrimental to their success because in school, each year of schooling builds on the last one.

Children from all backgrounds experience the “summer slide”, but students with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia particularly struggle the most.

According to Learning Diversity Expert, Sara Haboubi, the summer break in schools comes from a time when most families were working in agriculture and during the summer, children would help their parents on the farm.

Primary school students have about an 8 week break, while secondary school students have about a 12 week break. This is a large enough window of time for students to fall behind and forget the basics like maths, spelling, and grammar.

It can take about 7 or 8 weeks for students to catch up. Imagine taking a long holiday from work, it can take a bit of time to get back into the routine and get used to work again. Learning is a lot like exercise, if it’s been a while since you last went for a jog, you might get tired more quickly and it will take time before you can jog long distances.

On average, a student can lose about 2 months worth of knowledge in maths and English, which is a little less than a quarter of the school year. Effects can be even more severe in incoming secondary school students, who can experience years of learning loss in just the summer because it adds up over the years.

How do I prevent it?

The good news is that summer learning loss can be prevented and there are many fun ways to do it. Different approaches work for each child. Learning doesn’t have to be rote, linear, or structured.

For reading, take your kid to the library and have them check out books and magazines that interest them. Reading is a lot more fun for your kid when they pick out the book. They also don’t have to read the book in one sitting. You can break the book into manageable chunks, encouraging them to read a chapter a day or divide the page count by how many days you can have the book out for. Reading can also help with spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. Building reading skills can also help with understanding word problems in maths and getting higher scores on standardised tests.

For maths, find ways to show how maths can apply in every day life. Maths practise doesn’t have to just be worksheets. When shopping, have your kid add up the total or calculate change and discounts. Play Monopoly, Yahtzee, or Scrabble with the family. If you’re cooking and you want to double or half the recipe, have your kid multiply or divide the portions of the ingredients.

For Irish, you can enrol your kid into a Gaeltacht summer course or watch TG4. You can also find books in Irish at the library.

For foreign languages, read books or news articles and watch movies in those languages. There are also learning apps like Duolingo and Memrise. There are also summer camps for studying French, Spanish, or German.

At Castleisland Tuition Centre, we are offering a one-week intensive preparatory summer programme for incoming first year secondary school students. This course will help your kid build confidence for the school year.

In conclusion…

Take the time to relax this summer and enjoy the beautiful weather. Don’t forget to do a small amount of studying every day to keep your skills sharp and avoid the summer slump.

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