Summertime is often spent playing at the park, swimming in the pool and attending sports camps, but parents can prevent summer learning loss through greater involvement with their children’s learning and encouraging reading.
For many years, summer learning loss has been documented and educators have endeavored to provide solutions to prevent it or slow the effects. During the summer math skills regress more quickly than reading skills, according to studies by Duke University professor Harris Cooper done in 1996 and 2000. Professor Cooper also has documented a achievement gap between low income and middle income students that becomes more pronounced when school is not in session.
Some schools in Indiana are shortening their summer break and having students start classes sooner for the 2014-15 school year. Eastern Howard School Corp. adopted a new calendar and will be back in session Aug. 4, and Kokomo School Corp. begins the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 5.
Maconaquah has operated on a balanced calendar for three years.Students have an eight-week summer break this year, which still is enough time to forget some of what they learned the previous school year. But the balanced calendar has time built in to allow them to catch up, said Maconaquah Superintendent Doug Arnold.
“The time it takes to relearn when kids return … that is always a concern in our schools,” Arnold said. “Our balanced calendar has helped with that.”
“We believe it’s something that’s worthwhile,” Arnold said.
Combating summer learning loss also requires parental involvement and access to educational community programs.
The University of Phoenix recently released a survey of 1,000 K-12 teachers that found 90 percent said they would like more parental involvement in their classrooms. The survey also found 70 percent of teachers would like regular communication with parents about their students’ performance.