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School’s out, now what? 3 ways to keep kids learning during summer break

The Los Angeles Times – Michelle Maltais

“Sure, summer’s great with its carefree, longer days and sweet break from the routine of the classroom. Here’s the bummer: Over break, kids can actually lose what they’ve learned over the previous school year. Researchers call it the “summer slide.” Summer break widens achievement gaps between kids from kindergarten through high school. And, like many things, it hits poor children harder. As kids from higher-income families actually raise their reading skills during the time off, kids from lower-income families lose two to three months of reading skills in the summer – which they don’t make up in the school year. That means by the fifth grade, they can be behind their peers by 2½ to three years.”(more)

The Dreaded Summer Slide and How to Tackle It

Education World – Joel Stice

“It’s a safe assumption that nearly all students enjoy the break from homework and test taking that summer brings. It’s also during this roughly two-month vacation that learning retention starts to slip. The result is that teachers generally have to spend the first month or so at the beginning of the school year bringing students back up to speed on previously covered material. Some 66 percent of teachers said that they have to help their students get caught back up at the beginning of the year, according to a survey conducted by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). Reading, spelling, and math skills are generally the subjects most affected during the long break.”(more)

Summer learning programs can benefit low-income students, study finds

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Elementary school students with high levels of attendance in voluntary summer learning programs — defined as at least 20 days of a five- to six-week program — experienced benefits in math and reading, according to new RAND Corporation findings from the largest research study ever conducted on summer learning. The $50 million National Summer Learning Project, funded by The Wallace Foundation since 2011, seeks to find out whether and how voluntary summer programs can help low-income students succeed in school. Summer is a time when low-income students lose ground relative to their wealthier peers, but it also holds promise as a time to improve outcomes for them by providing additional opportunities for academics and enrichment.”(more)

Breaking up the summer break: Is year-round education good or bad?

CNBC – Erin Barry

” It’s back-to-school season for much of the country, but for some students, school is never out. For some, classes are in session all year long: About 3,700 K-12 public schools across the country operate on a year-round calendar — approximately 4 percent of all U.S. schools in 2011-12, according to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics. A year-round calendar, also referred to as a balanced calendar, reorganizes the 180 school days by shortening the traditional summer break, dispersing those days into several smaller breaks throughout the year. These breaks (usually two to three weeks long) are called intersessions, and schools can use that time for remediation and enrichment programs for students. The method is popular in other countries, but U.S. research has been deemed too inconclusive to draw any long-term conclusions.”(more)

Summer learning loss widens the achievement gap. Here’s how to change that

The Hechinger Report – William Whitaker

“Most students celebrate being out of school for the summer, but hitting pause on learning and structure for just a few months can have big consequences. Evidence shows that high-quality summer learning programs set students up for success in school, in college, and in life. This is especially true for low –income, minority students. Investing in our children’s education and safety should include providing smarter summers. For many D.C.-area students and families, summer learning programs are a luxury that’s out of reach. After schools close in June, parents struggle with finding safe, affordable ways to keep their children engaged. Consider that in D.C., a family with two school-age children can expect to pay an average $2,597 per month for child care, according to calculations from the Economic Policy Institute. Summer camps can also pose a significant financial burden.”(more)

Over half of parents want a shorter summer break to stop their child’s learning abilities declining

The Telegraph – Ella Turner

“Three out of four mums and dads believe their child’s academic abilities decline during the six week summer break, a new survey revealed. Parents would like to see a shorter break instead of six weeks to keep their child’s learning abilities at a steady pace, shows the poll which comes in the week pupils break up for summer. By September pupils struggle to get back into their usual term-time routine, the survey indicates. Overall 74.8 percent of parents agree their child’s learning slips throughout the holiday, with over half believing it should be made shorter for consistency in their child’s academic ability throughout the year.”(more)