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School’s Out for Summer: Five Ways to Combat Learning Loss

NHA Communications Team  |  June 30, 2021
Summer learning loss has been a concern among educators for decades. Because of the inconsistent year schools have had due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increased worry.
Child crying.

Summer learning loss is a reduction of the academic learning accomplished during the school year. Teams across National Heritage Academies (NHA) have been collaborating for months to set a strong foundation for summer learning programs. With enhanced and self-paced options, schools can offer summer learning to all and target those who may need additional support. This is possible by all students being provided a Chromebook, which allows access to quality digital tools that support their development in both reading and math. 
Child doing arts and crafts with rocks.

Kim Gray, English language arts specialist at NHA, explained that learning loss can be detrimental for students because if a student regresses over the summer, it takes a portion of the next school year to regain what was lost. “This cuts into the learning gains that can be achieved the next year, and then the cycle continues,” she said.

According to a study published in the American Education Research Journal, 52% of first- through sixth-grade students lost an average of 39% of the academic gains they accomplished during the school year. To combat this, Gray provided five methods that can be implemented to reduce summer learning loss:

1. Balance. This school year took a toll on everyone, and it’s important that families support not only academic needs but social emotional needs, as well. A student struggling emotionally will struggle to access academic content. 

2. Read together. Find a book to just enjoy and get lost in it. Not only will reading with one another strengthen your family unit, but strong language comprehension is essential to reading comprehension. A student’s vocabulary immensely impacts their ability to comprehend a text. 

3. Audio books. If reading isn’t your jam or you’re going on a long car ride, listen to audio books. Listening comprehension is just as important as decoding when it comes to reading comprehension. Check out your local library.

4. Experiences. Experiences expand vocabulary. Don’t forget about all the amazing virtual experiences online, as well. You don’t have to leave your house to visit a butterfly conservatory, access Mars, or even visit the Great Wall of China! 

5. Games. Games are a great way to build students social emotional learning and have fun together. Many games even incorporate reading and math concepts.
An open book.

“Providing students with resources to support them academically when they aren’t in school is essential to keep students minds working and processing so they can continue to learn and grow as much as they can the next year,” said Gray.