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Naturally, the learning loss varies by grade level and content area as well as by socioeconomic status. The Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University reports that “On average, children from low-income families lose nearly three months of grade-level equivalency during the summer months each year, compared to an average of one month lost by middle-income children when reading and math performance are combined.” Because of this socioeconomic factor, summer learning loss contributes to the achievement gap for children of low-income families.
The Detroit Free Press article “Keep Kids Learning All Summer” reports that these losses matter even more in states like Michigan that require children to take achievement tests in the first months of the new school year. Quoted in the article, principal Jo Kwansy of Boulan Middle School explains bluntly, “If you dont use it, you lose it.”
The solution? Summer learning activities that support and develop childrens skills like the following:
- Tap the Summer Activities section of ReadWriteThink offers a range of activities for K12 students (ages 418) to complete, including such activities as going on a reading hunt, starting summer book clubs, directing summer blockbusters for favorite books, and creating safe online profiles.
- Visit NCTEs Summer Reading and Learning Teacher Resource Collection for articles reviewing a variety of books that make great summer reading for children and teens. Be sure to check out the Language Arts article “Fostering Family Support of Summer Reading” to think about ways to involve parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, and siblings in the reading that children do during the summer months.
- Try one of the ten activities from the Wilmington, Delaware News-Journal article “Reading, writing, and . . . .” The article suggests activities like keeping a discovery diary, writing piggyback poetry, and creating backyard theaters based on recent readings.
- Use one of ReadWriteThinks Tool Tip Sheets to learn how children can use online interactive tools to extend their reading, writing, and thinking about any topic. Several of the tools can be used to write alternative book reports.