Brain drain over the holidays?

There’s a phenomenon known as summer learning loss or summer brain drain that has been studied since the early 1900s. Kinda makes sense if you think of the saying “use it or lose it.” But is it a legitimate issue?

Here’s what I’ve found:

  • A lot of attention is placed on loss of reading skills over the school vacation. However, skills in math and math-related subjects appeared more susceptible to loss.
  • Relative lack of opportunity to practice computation and spelling over summer vacation may mean that these facts and procedural skills are most susceptible to decay.”
  • Math tutoring appears to be helpful in reducing this gap.
  • Socioeconomic status seems to play a role, particularly in reading skills. Researchers found an almost 3-month gap in reading performance between middle-class and low-income students following summer vacation.
  • The effect on low-income students may be long-lasting and affect future college attendance.
  • Enrollment in a summer reading program may address this loss, even in pre-kindergarteners
  • It appears that across students, summer loss affects the equivalent of one month of grade-level skills. Best case scenario, students don’t lose, but they don’t gain either.
  • These gaps and the research supporting them, have been fodder for the debate on reduced vacation time/year-round schooling.

What can you do?

I recall my mother (a teacher) setting aside short periods of time for academic work during the holidays. Here are several websites with worksheets that your child can complete during the vacation.
Also check out these:
Summer Reading Resources
How to stanch your kid’s learning loss– Actions you can take

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment below!



About Traci S. Williams-Nurse

Dr. Traci Williams-Nurse is a licensed psychologist who specialized in child, adolescent and family psychology. Her interests include child development, family functioning, video games and food. She was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
This entry was posted in Academic Performance, Holidays, Mathematics, Parenting, Reading, School and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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