Closing the Achievement Gap: Tips for Preventing Summer Learning Loss

July 24, 2018

Summer matters. For those months of the year when children aren’t in school, engaging educational experiences can keep them from losing the progress they made. A major challenge during these summer months is ensuring that children retain the knowledge gained during the school year by preventing the “summer slide.”

Research shows that the summer slide has a significant, cumulative impact on academic achievement, particularly for children in low-income households. The summer slide is a key factor behind a stunning statistic: by the end of 5th grade, disadvantaged children are, on average, nearly three grade levels behind their more affluent peers in reading (source: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading). And, according to the National Summer Learning Association, summer learning loss accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between children from low- and middle-income households by 9th grade.

But there is hope. While the school year will start before we know it, there’s still time for children to reinforce what they learned the previous year and prepare for the next one. Engaging and effective learning experiences can help prevent the summer slide by getting children excited to continue learning over their summer break.

Below are some helpful tips that families can use to maintain academic achievement over the summer from National Teachers’ Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Rebecca Palacios, Senior Curriculum Advisor at Age of Learning.

ABCmouse for Libraries - Summer Learning Loss Age of LearningVisit Your Local Public Library

Visiting the library can help develop a love of reading and learning at an early age. In addition to thousands of books, libraries offer technology access, research areas, and fun learning activities.

More than 8,000 public libraries nationwide make available for families to use on site at no cost. Families get full access to the more than 10,000 ABCmouse Learning Activities, including books, songs, puzzles, and games that encompass key academic subjects. Patrons in some areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area and Detroit can also check out ABCmouse accounts from their local library to use at home through the Bring Learning to All initiative.

Read, Read, Read!

Summer Slide - ABCmouse for Libraries Helps Prevent Learning Loss

A 2004 American Academy of Arts and Sciences study concluded that children should read at least 4 to 5 books over the summer break to prevent summer  learning loss. Research shows that books that are “just right”for children–those that aren’t frustratingly hard or too easy–make the best learning experiences.

Regular reading matters: Choose a fun and engaging weekly book that you can read aloud as a family. Read a chapter each night, if it’s a longer book. Here are a few tips for making these reading sessions even more interactive and engaging:

1. Talk to your child about words in the book that rhyme or begin with the same letter.
2. Ask your child questions about what is happening in the story as you’re reading.
3. Discuss the book’s characters: their names, appearance, feelings, and actions.

With thousands of books to choose from, ABCmouse provides rich reading experiences for children in preschool through 2nd grade at their listening-comprehension or independent reading level.


Be Prepared for On-the-Go Learning

ABCmouse Constellation Apps - Mobile Summer LearningWhether you’re on a plane, at the park, or in a store, every outing can be a learning opportunity! Ask questions and show kids different colors, shapes, words, and numbers in the world around them.

Listening and singing along to music is also a wonderful way for children to learn about the world around them and build a rich vocabulary. You can now access 175 ABCmouse children’s songs, including a special summer playlist that teaches the alphabet, numbers and operations, shapes, colors, and geography, on major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Google Play, and Pandora. Children can sing along to “The Letter S Song, “The Statue of Liberty,” “Five Little Monkeys,” and more.

Families can also download seven ABCmouse apps that offer ABCmouse content for offline use, making ABCmouse even easier for families to access—no matter where they go.

A recent research study showed that students who regularly used ABCmouse for at least 70 minutes per week over the summer demonstrated literacy gains equivalent to one month of academic instruction! These gains were sustained well into the following school year. Invest in summer learning today and reap benefits for your children this fall, and in all school years ahead.