Everyone loves the summer. Most of us know it as a time of sunshine, beaches and vacations. But it has an even greater appeal for kids who get an almost three-month long summer break from school. We all know how important good schooling is for our kids, but we must also remember when we were young and how much we looked forward to summer vacation. It’s a time when kids get to play each and every day and concentrate on their hobbies and interests, as well as attend summer camps and engage in other such fun activities.
Summer truly is magical when you’re a kid, there’s no denying that. But there is a very real issue we would like to raise in today’s blog, one which suggests that it’s probably not a good idea to let children forget about school completely during summer vacation. It’s a problem called Summer Learning Loss. Summer Learning Loss is the name given to the loss of academic skills and knowledge that can take place over the course of summer vacation. This perceived loss in learning varies between different age groups and different grades, and also effects certain subjects more than others, studies have shown. On average it has been found that students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning of the summer break from school (on the same test). Summer Learning Loss for all students is estimated to be equal to about 1 month of schooling, but as we said above it can vary between subjects. Math seems to be worst effected with students losing an average of almost three months of learning over the summer. That’s a lot of math teaching gone down the drain!
You may not be aware of the prevalence of Summer Learning Loss, but it has been recognized for quite some time that the summer break from school is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines significantly relative to the school year. In fact, two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in reading and language found among high school students has been explained through the learning loss that occurs during the summer months of the primary school years, so it’s not just math learning that is severely impacted either.
Of course this is leading to the inevitable question; What can be done to tackle Summer Learning Loss? Year Round Education has been proposed as an alternative method of schooling, but this is a long way from ever becoming Department of Education policy – and would we really want that for our kids anyway? It’s really down to you to make sure your kids’ minds are being stimulated throughout the summer break from school. This doesn’t mean you should coup them up inside at a desk with a stack of books to go through all summer long, but rather you should try and engage them in fun activities and games that promote learning and give their young brains a good workout!
Here at Elite Toy Store we have some great options for you in this department. For the younger kids we recommend the Talking Hot Dots Pen which comes as part of the Hot Dots Jr. Getting Ready for School Set. This friendly talking pen is suitable for kids of pre-kindergarten age and up and helps promote early learning with lights and sound effects that guide children through 160 different activities. Additional pens are available separately to allow multiple children to use the kit at once, making this a great group activity for a bunch of friends to try out! The Talking Hot Dots Pen provides immediate feedback that rewards progress and corrects mistakes so children can learn at their own pace – the ideal antidote to Summer Learning Loss! The set includes 80 richly illustrated, double-sided activity cards that are pressure-sensitive and work in conjunction with the Talking Hot Dots Pen.
For grades 2 and up we have a great learning game from the folks at Educational Insights called the WORDiac. The sleek look and feel of a hand-held video game encourages students to practice using important vocabulary words that they will encounter in textbooks and on standardized tests. As students play fun word games and take quick quizzes, they review over 1,000 important content-area and academic vocabulary words. There are beginner and advanced levels so that kids of all ages can take advantage of this great learning tool. It even presents questions in standardized test format!
There you have it, two great ways to stave off the negative effects of Summer Learning Loss during the extended summer break from school. The Talking Hot Dots Pen and the WORDiac are available from Elite Toy Store now, both priced at $39.99 and eligible for free shipping. Don’t miss out!