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.
Read something every day
Encourage your child to take advantage of every opportunity to read. Find them throughout the day such as newspapers, comics, magazines 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.
Have some fun online
Another really fun way we’ve discovered is a brilliant App called DiaryZapp. Created by Charlie Dance for her children Noah and Ella when the children’s school said that they’d like each of the students to keep a holiday diary to help prevent ‘Summer Slide’.
Ella (7) chose a pretty notebook and set to doing it every day but was struggling majorly with her literacy which turned it from a fun task to a miserable half an hour. Noah (9)… no chance. It just wasn’t cutting it as a fun activity to do everyday.. He decided it would be cool to have a special app on the iPad to be able to import photos and write about their holiday adventures.
The family wanted something eye-catching and fun to use that would be easy to send to his buddies to stay in touch as the weeks went by.
DiaryZapp boosts the retention of words and practices literacy skills on a daily basis whilst placing the emphasis firmly on the fun factor and the celebration of each child’s every day antics.
Holidays are a time to be carefree and adventurous; they should be captured and shared, explored and giggled about. To discover more about DiaryZapp click here.
Most of all enjoy any free time together ... the years pass by very quickly!
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