6 Ways to Encourage Learning and Prevent Summer Learning Loss for Your Student

Parents may be wondering “How can I keep up with my child’s learning over the summer break?”

Summer vacation can be the perfect opportunity for children to fit in some extra learning—and this doesn’t need to affect the time spent enjoying their summer. It’s important to strike a balance between fitting in some academic activities with having fun with friends and family.

The first thing that parents can do when planning for the summer is to identify areas of academic weakness, areas of interest, and some core aspects of the curriculum that are essential for students’ overall achievement. Consider using past assignments to inform learning over the summer and connect with your child’s teacher before the break begins.

Below are some key, actionable steps you can take now to encourage summer learning activities so that you and your child feel prepared for a great summer of learning, fun, and avoid any potential summer learning loss.

1. Summer reading
At GRACE Christian School, we encourage our students to read during their summer. When students first return to school after the summer break, teachers often notice a dip in their reading level, reading fluency, and comprehension. This can mean that the first few weeks of school are dedicated to rebuilding these skills and their confidence in reading. A simple and enjoyable way for students to combat learning loss over the summer is by developing and maintaining a steady reading routine during the break.

There are multiple ways you can encourage reading at home. Perhaps make plans to visit a local library. Your family may pick picture books that you can share with your young children or chapter books and novels for older children. For reluctant readers, graphic novels and comics could be a good choice. Similarly, books specific to a personal interest of theirs could spark curiosity! If you’re needing inspiration, there are a plethora of summer reading lists you can find online for any age group or reading level. Your children may even like to swap book suggestions with their classmates from GRACE Christian School as they read over the summer.
2. Math drills and games
Knowledge retention of math skills is also vitally important. If there is an identified area for improvement for your child, dedicating some time for this over the summer can put them in a strong position when they return to school in the fall. One way to incorporate this into your daily routine could be by having a set time during the day that your child sits down to practice math drills. Just like training in any skill, repetitive practice or rote learning once a day can really boost confidence in your child.

You may like to add math games to make it enjoyable. You could even “gamify” the experience by creating a roster that needs to be checked off daily and includes a reward at the end of each week if all tasks are completed. What’s key here is to build some momentum and motivation for your child to work on something that might be challenging for them. And always remember that lots of positive praise and reinforcement can help them feel proud of themselves and their achievements.

Depending on your child’s needs, you may even consider summer tutoring. By getting math help over the summer break, you may find that your child gets that little boost they need to propel them forward.

3. Studying over the summer break
Children often have particular areas of interest that they love to learn about.
Learning over the summer can give them an opportunity to delve deep into an area that ignites their curiosity. This learning could be something that they explore by themselves. There may also be classes that your child can join either online or in person. By planning ahead you may find a summer camp in your local area specific to the interest of your child. Learning never feels like a chore when it’s something you enjoy doing!

Elementary learning over the summer is paramount for younger students to retain the knowledge they have learned during the school year. In the same way, students from the 7th grade through 12th grade will want to maintain their skills and understanding of the subjects they take. Even 15 to 30 minutes daily pursuing academic activities can maintain both the habit of learning and help to hold onto knowledge.  

4. Habit stack with regular routines
If you’re concerned about habits sticking over the course of the summer break, habit stacking can be an easy way to introduce a new task. For example, if your child sets the table for dinner each evening, have them complete the task 15 minutes earlier. This can free up a designated time for them to complete a stack of flashcards or for learning definitions. This can work well for subjects like science where core content needs to be understood or memorized.

Stacking a new habit alongside an already existing one can be good practice for your child as they move from elementary school through to higher grades. Whether continuing with positive daily routines or starting new habits, the ongoing practice of organization and taking responsibility for their learning can have a lasting effect beyond the summer.  

5. Peer and family encouragement
Summer vacation is a time for children to enjoy the warmer weather with friends and spend quality time with family too. Learning and growth happen when children can have fun doing things they love in a supportive atmosphere. Playdates with friends can be just as beneficial as scheduling an additional tutoring session or booking them into a
summer camp. The connections they make with others are vital to allowing them to feel a part of their bigger community.

6. Everyday learning over the summer
There are so many practical learning moments that happen over the summer. If you’re planning a movie night at the drive-in, ask your child to calculate the change you will receive when paying for the ticket. If you’re planning a day out, ask your child to work out what time you will need to leave in order to get to your destination on time. In addition to this, journaling about family vacations, days out, and highlights of the week can be a great way for students to document their summer. And of course, attending sports camps and getting active with friends and family is also essential to stay physically healthy too.

If you have questions about how to further engage your children over the summer and prevent summer learning loss, please do not hesitate to reach out! We’re here to help so feel free to contact us at [email protected]!

You can find additional GRACE Christian Resources for Summer Learning