The Importance of Summer Learning
Throughout the school year, a child’s main focus is to keep up with their learning. Then the summer months arrive and they take a well-earned break from their rigorous school schedules, but the learning doesn’t have to stall, or worse, slide backwards. Studies show that students risk losing 2-3 levels in reading and 2 levels in math if they do not engage in learning activities throughout the summer months. According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), this regression is more prominent in low-income areas and leads to increased high school drop-out rates. Learning throughout the summer is important at any age, and finding fun, interactive ways to stimulate learning for young people can be challenging, but there are options available for all ages and levels of engagement.
July 8-13th is Summer Learning Week, according to the NSLA, and it doesn’t require a lot of money to make sure your children are learning and growing throughout the summer. Reading at home every day, keeping a summer journal, planting a garden, and doing creative home projects can help build reading and math skills at the same time. Something as simple as having children help with a recipe in the kitchen boosts math and reading skills. Local libraries often offer interactive learning and reading programs that are free or very low cost too. Libraries are also great places to encourage your child to experience technology and experiment with new reading material. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has reading lists for infants through 8th grade. You can view or download those lists HERE and help your child set a goal for their summer reading.
Volunteering together or putting your child in charge of an age-appropriate project can also help expand their mind. Projects for children to help manage can include a small herb garden, outdoor yard work, painting a fence, building a fire pit, making a sculpture out of found objects, or planting flowers for a neighbor.
Summer camps have evolved to offer options for children with many different interests. For example, there are Coding Camps for young computer programmers and Detroit Zoo summer camps for those with a love for animals. You can even find enriching activities that are free for children throughout the summer. Places like Home Depot, the Charles H. Wright Museum and Michigan’s Science Center offer free or low cost programs and events that include learning about nature, history, creative and crafting skills and more. Your local park district may even offer fun, engaging programs throughout the summer for students of all ages.
The key is to keep your child’s minds active through those summer months so when it’s time to get back to school, they won’t have lost any ground. I hope you find plenty of exciting ways to do that this summer! Check out our Facebook page for the National Summer Learning Week challenge!