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Preventing Summer Learning Loss

Posted by Kate Seat on Jun 11, 2015 7:00:00 AM
Topics: K-12
Summer learning loss, also known as the "summer slide," can lead to a difficult time for many students once school starts again. So what can you do to combat it?


The standard nine month school year was designed to fit an agricultural lifestyle that's nonexistent today, at least for the majority of schools in the U.S. 

While the long summer break may be a welcome respite for teachers and vacationing families, it can lead to substantial learning challenges for students in the fall, especially where math, reading and spelling skills are concerned.

Research shows that, on average, students experience about 2.5 months of learning loss during the summer, and that teachers typically spend between 4-6 weeks of the new school year re-teaching or reviewing material from the previous year.

These losses also tend to be cumulative. By sixth grade, a student who repeatedly loses reading skills over the summer could be an average of two years behind her classmates.


Some suggested solutions include extending the standard school year to be year-round, either by adding more required days or by changing the structure of vacation days to be intermittent weeks off, rather than months. Another alternative is summer school programs, which may not be available in all areas.

How Parents Can Keep Kids on Track

The good news is that reading just four to five books over the summer can prevent any appreciable decline in reading comprehension scores, and that this is especially effective when the students pick their own books.

More resources, from around the web:

View additional tips, exercises and free resources on our "Summer Learning Loss" board on Pinterest

National Summer Learning Day is Friday, June 19.

About Kate Seat

Kate Seat is a former copywriter at MBS. When away from work, she’s either creating one-of-a-kind art dolls, reading or watching way too much tv with her husband, daughter and an irritable chinchilla named Klaus.

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