Why Summer Learning Matters

May 16, 2014

March 11.

That is about where your child’s math skills will slide back to when she returns to school next fall. “Summer learning loss” occurs when students do not engage in educational activities over break and return to school in the fall with skills that have atrophied from lack of use. In math, students typically lose 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in computational skills every summer — the equivalent of stopping instruction around March 11 instead of early June.

student outside
Nature’s many patterns offer plenty of opportunities for math.

Research spanning more than 100 years has confirmed that every child experiences summer learning loss (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978;  Alexander et al, 2001Cooper et al,1996, 2003). In fact, summer learning loss explains more than half of the achievement gap between high- and low-income students. Math skills, one researcher speculates, take a much harder hit than reading skils because reading is more readily available at home. Students aren’t typically asked to do algebra in their spare time.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. As you start planning your student’s many summer activities, consider trying a few of the following to combat learning loss:

  • Add the grocery list to weekly chores. Comparing prices, multiplying recipe amounts, converting measurements, adding on tax and subtracting discounts — the grocery store and kitchen can be your child’s summer math class.
  • Save those old tests and notebooks. Set aside time to review a few assignments per week with your child. There’s no reason you can’t supplement bedtime stories with bedtime geometry.
  • Play math-based games in a weekly family game nightSumokuTicket to Ride, and Monopoly are a few of our favorites.
  • Find out more about Reasoning Mind. Our goal is to teach kids to love math. We do it with an engaging interface, fun activities, and a rigorous curriculum — all the ingredients for a fun learning challenge this summer. Sign up for a guest account.

What are your plans for the summer? What else would you add to our list? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest or just leave a comment. If you would like to find out more about using our program at home visit the Individual Enrollment page.

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