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Seven Tips for Avoiding Summer Learning Loss

Pub Date: May 13, 2014 | Columnist: Barbara Dianis, Guest Columnist


Summertime is usually one of the best times of the year for students and their families. The scholastically carefree days of summer can serve to provide students with a needed break from school. But students who take a complete break from learning over the months of summer can lose up to two to three months of learning while their brains are resting from their previous curriculum. By contrast, students who spend five to seven hours a week learning can improve their scholastic knowledge by three or more months.

One summer learning myth that needs to be dispelled is that learning can’t be fun in order for it to be effective. Summertime learning should be fun and can help students gain interest in learning new concepts while reviewing previously learned core concepts. Students who spend a few hours a week reviewing their current curriculum concepts and looking ahead to next year’s curriculum typically find their diligence paying off in the upcoming school year. This is because they have created a useable foundational base to help them absorb and retain more information when core concepts are introduced in their classes. Here are a few tips for parents looking to make the most out of their child’s school year:

1. During the summer, students typically benefit from designing a flexible learning schedule that can be broken down into smaller intervals, such as twenty-minute segments three times a day. Others might enjoy learning for thirty- minute sessions twice a day, or an hour once a day—do what works for you and your schedule!

2. Subjects that have been the most consistently difficult for the student should be given the most time. Key learning concepts in a specific subject area can generally be found online, in library books, or in workbooks from a teacher supply store. Pre-learning important key concepts can make the upcoming fall classes easier to understand and enable the student to perform better in the class. 

3. Mathematical subjects consist of concepts that build upon themselves throughout the school year. Therefore, students should review and practice three or four math problems and procedures each day. One or more math problems should review the previous math class notes and formulas.  Then the student should look online to determine what new mathematical concepts, vocabulary, and formulas they will be learning in the fall. Going online, using a math workbook from a teacher supply store, or a textbook are good for such problems.  

4. Students can also benefit from reviewing and looking at upcoming vocabulary terms—and not just for English class! Students will be able to understand high amounts of the class lectures in math, science, and other classes when they know the terms incorporated in the lessons. Use flash cards to play learning quiz games with family or friends and include everyone!

5. Literacy and reading comprehension skills can be improved over the summer in students who read a minimum of two classical literature books over the months of vacation. As the student encounters words that they don’t understand they should look the word up. The student can also use the phonetic spelling to help him or her decode words, writing the meaning down on paper or a flash card to review later. Reading aloud daily to a parent, sibling or friend can additionally help improve a student’s reading fluency skills at a steady rate.

6. When reading for knowledge, students often complain of reading the same paragraph or page with very little recall of the key concepts or ideas. Students who need a boost in their reading comprehension skills can benefit from jotting down a few key words or phrases on a piece of notebook paper as each paragraph is read. The notes serve as a review and help students’ reading comprehension skills improve.

7. Students can improve their written language skills during the summer by constructing one or more creative writing paragraphs. They may want to write about topics they will be learning in their fall classes or special summer activities, vacations or time spent with their families. Adding adjectives and adverbs helps students’ written skills improve. Then the student should edit and improve their creative writing paragraph several times to add clarity, interest and depth of thought.  

Even if it’s only for an hour, a day of summertime learning can help prevent your son or daughter from learning loss associated with taking a complete scholastic break. The hour of learning daily can also help students meet academically challenges in the upcoming school year and can help them become academic winners!

Barbara Dianis, MA ED, overcame dyslexia in her own life using self-taught strategies and techniques. She went on to earn a BA Degree in Education and Special Education, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education, Special Education Pre-k- 12th, Language Learning Disabilities, and Psychometry. As CEO and Founder of Dianis Educational Systems, LLC she has influenced society to view students with various learning issues as capable students who can overcome their learning issues if they are taught properly. Dianis has also run an educational tutoring business for the past 20 years that have helped thousands of students with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and learning differences to achieve enormous scholastic and professional successes.

Website: www.dianiseducation.com
Twitter: 
@DianisEdSystems
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