Summer break is here, much to the relief of many kids and teachers. However, research shows if kids take a break from learning over the summer, they can lose at least a month’s worth of learning. Low-income students can lose as much as three months.
That tendency to backslide has a few different names: The Summer Slide, Summer Learning Loss, The Summer Setback.
Education advocates have designated July 12 as National Summer Learning Day to raise awareness about summer programs that try to combat learning loss.
“I’ve talked to instructors over the summer that have said one of the most frustrating things for them when they start back in the fall [is] they end up having to spend the first couple of weeks bringing everybody back up to speed on what they lost during summer slide,” says Alex Wan, executive director of Horizons Atlanta.
Horizons offers summer programs for more than 800 low-income students in metro Atlanta. Wan says the six-week session focuses on math and reading, but teachers use project-based learning to engage students.
“Especially in the lower grades, we’re seeing as much as, maybe, four to five months of advancement in these students,” Wan says. “So not only are we combating summer slide, but we’re actually helping push them forward anywhere from four to five months.”
Wan says one of the keys to Horizons’ success with students is continuity. The same kids come back year after year. The program currently serves students in Atlanta Public Schools and the Fulton and Paulding County school districts.
Click here to find local events celebrating National Summer Learning Day.