The evidence is not anecdotal. The Institute for Public Policy Research has produced reports for Government to support the effects of the summer learning loss. Sadly, they have also demonstrated that students in low income families fare worse making them further disadvantaged in later life. These are some of the worrying statistics from various research projects into this phenomenon.
• 11 weeks of maths skills lost.
• 6 weeks of the autumn term spent re-learning old material.
• 9 weeks of reading skills lost.
• 4 weeks of spelling skills lost.
• The effects can be recognised as early as Year 1.
• By the end of Year 6 all those who have experienced the effect each year are an average of 2 years behind their peers.
• By Year 10, two thirds of students in lower income households are affected.
• It can take up to 9 weeks from the first day of school to realign a student’s brain development.
This does not mean abandoning the family summer holiday or spending each day studying. The summer holiday should be a time to relax, sleep late and enjoy a different life style. However, just 2 to 3 hours per week will hold the summer learning loss at bay. This does not mean getting all the school books out. Instead, think about how implementing one or more of the following ideas:
• Reading builds literacy, writing and vocabulary skills. Aim for about 7 books over the summer period.
• Encourage the use of maths-based puzzles like Sudoku or logic games like draughts or chess. Regular times table practice is also important.
• Story writing or creating a holiday diary – younger children might even enjoy illustrating it.
• Practice foreign language skills if the holiday is abroad. Encourage simple use of the language by ordering coffee for two.
• Organise a weekly of fortnightly study afternoon with friends – it should be fun because they get to spend the day with their friends.
For further reading on the subject refer to: