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How To Prevent “Summer Learning Loss” in Math

Apr 15, 2019

When is your child better at math—at the end of a grade level or at the beginning of the next grade?   

If you answered, “end of a grade level,” you’re usually right. The typical child has more math skills when they leave second grade than when they enter third grade. That’s because, during the summer, the majority of students lose the equivalent of two months of math skills.

Teachers agree. If you ask teachers about the skill level of their students in the fall, they’ll likely tell you that students aren’t ready to pick up where they left off. Educators call this problem “Summer Slide,” “Summer Learning Loss, “Summer Slump,” “Summer Regression,” and even “Summer Brain Drain.”  Math teachers spend three to six weeks at the beginning of the school year re-teaching math skills the children learned the previous spring. What a waste of time and resources!1

There’s good news, though. Kids who participate in summer academic programs retain, and even increase, their skills in those subjects. And those skills last a long time. In fact, a RAND Corporation study determined that the effects of a summer learning program last for at least two years.2

Summer is Uniquely Suited to Math Learning

Why is summer is a fantastic time for kids to learn math? First and foremost, summer months provide children with a relaxed environment which is conducive to clarifying and reinforcing last year’s learning and to introducing new concepts. Without the burden of a classes, homework, and extracurricular activities, children have more time, are less tired, and are better able to focus. It may sound like a no-brainer, but these factors cannot be overstated as contributors to a positive learning environment. Children in summer math learning programs make tremendous strides in a relatively short period of time.

Kids who participate in summer academic programs retain, and even increase, their skills in those subjects. 

Remember, summer math programs aren’t just for kids who are struggling; they’re for anyone who wants to catch up, keep up, or get ahead. While most people think of summer math programs for students who need remedial help, kids who already excel in math love enrichment programs, which allow them to dig deeper into various math topics and challenge them with new math concepts.

And a math program actually makes a great pair with summer camp, whether your child attends a traditional day camp or a specialized camp for the arts, STEM, or sports.

Join the Movement

Parents who invest in summer learning are not only taking steps to avoid summer learning loss, they’re helping their child to make significant advancements in math skills. Imagine the boost to your child’s confidence when they do well on that first pre-test of the school year. Rather than having to relearn last year’s math, they can start strong and keep improving!

Join the growing movement of educators and parents dedicated to eliminating the problem of the “summer slide.” Take the next step by learning how to choose the perfect summer math program for your child!

1National Summer Learning Association
2RAND Corporation, “Making Summer Count”