Slowing Down Summer Learning Loss
According to a recently published (April 2013) survey by James S. Kim and David M. Quinn of Harvard University, summer learning loss, specifically in reading, can be greatly reduced by teacher-directed and home-based summer reading interventions. What was significant about their study was that children in low-income areas actually benefitted the most from this type of summer intervention.
This particular demographic is especially sensitive to summer learning loss according to the 1996 survey published by Harris Cooper while he was at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In that survey, the significant differences in opportunities to learn and practice during the summer months was seen across economic backgrounds. His findings showed that students lost roughly a month’s worth of learning during summer vacation. The areas hardest hit by the learning loss were math and spelling and, for lower income areas, reading.
Stopping that summer learning loss and capitalizing on the research that shows that a home-based reading-intervention program works is more important than ever with the Common Core State Standards in effect. The question then becomes, “How can teachers and parents supplement learning over the course of the summer months?” How can we engage students in meaningful ways that give them the opportunity to learn regardless of their economic background?