Top Tips for Preventing Summer Holiday Learning Loss

Have you been heard of the terms ‘Summer Slide’, ‘Brain Drain’ or ‘Learning Loss’? These terms refer to the loss of knowledge and ability that children suffer from not practicing their literacy skills all through the long summer holidays. Many children, especially struggling readers, forget some of what they've learned or slip out of practice during the summer months.


It can be incredibly damaging to their confidence as well as their academic progression. Research into ‘Summer Slide’ reveals some shocking facts:

1. On average, students lose 2 months of reading skills over the summer.

2. It can take six weeks to get students to recap on what they learnt before the summer holidays making them fall majorly behind in deadlines for the coming school year.

3. It can take two whole months for a child’s brain to get back into learning at the same speed as it was before the holidays.

4. General exercise levels can also take a hit which adversely affects literacy skills, as exercise is known to boost academic performance.

5. By the end of Year 6, if children are not practicing literacy skills over the summer they end up nearly three grades behind ones that do.

All of this learning loss in just six weeks? Phew - well after that we definitely need to share some good news!

It only needs between 2-3 hours every week during the course of the summer holidays to prevent the onset of learning loss. That’s nothing, literally 20 minutes every day.

Try these strategies to help your children improve their literacy during the summer and beyond:


Six books to summer success

Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. When choosing the six, be sure that they are just right — not too hard and not too easy. Take advantage of your local library. Ask for help selecting books that match your child's age, interests, and abilities. Libraries often run Summer Reading Challenges  that motivate kids to read, so find out what's available in your area. Also check online book lists for recommendations. 


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Read something every day

Encourage your child to take advantage of every opportunity to read. Find them throughout the day such as newspapers, kids' magazine and comics, and online resources.

Keep reading aloud

Reading aloud benefits all children and teens, especially those who struggle. One benefit is that you can read books your children can't, so they will build listening comprehension skills with grade-level and above books. This will increase their knowledge and expand their experience with text, so that they will do better when reading on their own.  Audiobooks are also great fun and can be easily downloaded onto a phone or tablet for children to listen to on the go. 

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