How to Stop Summer Learning Loss

July 18, 2022

Summer learning loss
, also known as summer setback or summer slide, is happening to kids across the country. But don’t worry – it’s not too late to take action against the summer slide before it’s time to return to the classroom. 

The concept of the summer slide has been on researchers’ radars for at least 25 years, and a large body of research is connected to the process. So what exactly is it? The summer slide is the time children spend out of the classroom each year that can slow their educational progress. Research suggests kids lose knowledge in reading and math over summer break. The average student loses 17 to 34% of the prior year’s learning gains during summer break. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the phenomenon, United Through Reading has devised five ways for parents to help stop the summer slide

First, parents/caretakers must encourage children to continue their reading routine during the summer months. Take books outside to the park, beach, or backyard to turn reading into an adventure for at least 30 minutes a day.

Secondly, create a reading routine. It is best to read at the same time every day and make it a habit for your family. We suggest reading at bedtime, before rest time, or after physical activity. 

Next, curate a reading list that your child will enjoy. Talk to your children about what they love – sports, science, animals – and choose books together on those topics. Then, pick out books to read together by looking through our curated books or taking a trip to the local public library. Pick books based on your child’s age, interests, and reading level.

Then, register your child for a summer reading program. Your local library likely runs a summer reading program that motivates kids to read. Usually, they are designed with a reward system and fun activities related to reading. This year, United Through Reading is part of the summer reading program at 182 libraries in 32 states and 44 overseas locations, preventing summer slide for military children. Also, if you are using the UTR App this summer, your recordings will automatically count towards prizes we’ll be giving away in September.  

Finally, parents/caregivers should lead by example. If a child sees their favorite adults reading, they will want to read too! Parental involvement in a child’s reading can be a critical determinant in developing language and foundational literacy skills. Reading with your child at any age will create a bond and open up an opportunity for conversation. 

Literacy is the foundation of all of our learning, simply reading 30 minutes a day will help your child retain the information they learned last school year and be prepared for the next. 

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