Okay moms, I know it is difficult to believe but the school year is almost over. I know I for one am so excited to get my little soon-to-be first grader home for the summer. I can’t wait to enjoy the long lazy days of summer with all 3 of my kiddos. But I am also very concerned. Our 6-year-old has learned so much this year, making leaps and bounds in both reading and computation skills. I am afraid that a nearly 3 month vacation from academic rhythm of instruction might have her sliding backwards come the start of school in the fall. Reading the following article confirmed and compiled my concerns.
RESEARCH ON SUMMER LEARNING LOSS
A research synthesis conducted by Cooper et al. (1996) integrated 39 studies examining the effects of summer vacation on standardized achievement test scores. The 39 studies included 13 that could be included in a meta-analysis (a statistical integration) of the results. The meta-analysis indicated that summer learning loss equaled at least one month of instruction as measured by grade level equivalents on standardized test scores-on average, children’s tests scores were at least one month lower when they returned to school in fall than scores were when students left in spring.
The meta-analysis also found differences in the effect of summer vacation on different skill areas. Summer loss was more pronounced for math facts and spelling than for other tested skill areas. The explanation of this result was based on the observation that both math computation and spelling skills involve the acquisition of factual and procedural knowledge, whereas other skill areas, especially math concepts, problem solving, and reading comprehension, are conceptually based. Findings in cognitive psychology suggest that without practice, facts and procedural skills are most susceptible to forgetting (e.g., Cooper & Sweller, 1987). Summer loss was more pronounced for math overall than for reading overall. The authors speculated that children’s home environments might provide more opportunities to practice reading skills than to practice mathematics. Parents may be more attuned to the importance of reading, so they pay attention to keeping their children reading over summer.
My plan for combating Summer Brain Drain is to first enroll all 3 of our kiddos in the Summer Reading Program at our local library. As the article addressed, our home environment fosters reading. The children enjoy listening to books on tape and CD, having mommy or daddy read to them, and then lastly, having our little reader read to the entire family. We then keep track of the books we read and go to the library to report what was read for that week and receive a prize. It is a wonderful way to encourage children to read.
So, that leaves Math!! What to do over the summer to encourage and continue our daughters interest in Math? The solution, DreamBox, it helps children become proficient, mathematical thinker with the right learning environment. DreamBox unique intelligent adaptive learning technology goes beyond engagement, with a rigorous math curriculum that builds conceptual understanding and fluency. What I really like is that DreamBox offers interactive math games for first graders. The clip below does a wonderful job of expressing how DreamBox makes math fun, in fact it is so much fun they have no idea that they are actually learning (shh…we’ll just keep that between us parents).
Phew, I can sleep better now knowing that I am prepared to combat the Summer Brain Drain. How about you, are you prepared to combat the Summer Brain Drain?