Is Summer Time Vacation Bad for Kids?

Do you know that summer learning loss has been studied by scientists since 1906? All students experience summer slide, sometimes called summer brain drain, when there are extended absences from learning activities.

It is a fact that children lose up to 2-1/2 months of learning, depending on the economic status of the family. By the 6th grade they can be about 2 years behind in learning achievement if their school system only convenes for 9 months out of a fiscal year.

Think about this… most teachers use September and October as catch-up months to re-teach math and reading skills that the students didn’t retain over the summer. The last week in May and the 1st week in June learning almost comes to a halt. Then you add Christmas and Spring Break vacations into the mix. Add it up and your children can be at a loss for up to 6 months every calendar year!

Strategies for Stopping Academic Summer Slide

So as a parent what can you do to ensure that your children have productive things to do, especially if you are working? Here is how you can make a difference.

  1. Studies show that it is important to have books in the home that are of interest to your child and at his/her reading level. Ask your teacher your child’s reading level.
  2. If you cannot afford to purchase new books, backyard sales usually sell books for 10 to 25 cents per book. Bring your children with you and teach them how to save money.
  3. Public Libraries: 94% of the U.S. libraries provide a space for children to study, 95% offer summer reading programs and 89% have story hours.

    If you live to far to walk to the library become friends with public transportation. Ask the library to set up a summer program that will allow you to check books out for the whole summer.

    Find out if your library gives books away.

  4. Find a learning opportunity in your daily activities.
  5. Turn off the TV and read books in the park, at the beach, under a tree. Observe nature and find something to talk about. Use the library to do research about what you saw.

    Have a read-a-thon in your back yard, at a park or beach. Invite families to join you.

    Have a picnic and together talk about what you read, what you liked and disliked about the book you read. Give a one sentence summary.

  6. Take your children grocery shopping. Show them how to compare prices, ingredients listed on labels. Get books on where food comes from, how it is grown, how it gets from the farm to the table.
  7. For older children, visit a nursing home or elderly neighbor and play chess together.
  8. Put the video games in a drawer. Together decide what day of the week and for how long your kids will play their games.
  9. Make a schedule for the summer vacation month and visit places of interest.
  10. Provide time for relaxing, being bored, daydreaming. These are the times children learn to use their creativity.

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