Practical Ideas for Ending Summer Brain Drain
Numerous research studies support the evidence that many students lose a good portion of their learning over the summer. Estimates are that the loss is around 2 to 2.6 months of learning and affects both math and reading levels. Unfortunately, most students end up the year significantly behind grade level anyway, so the summer slide puts them even farther behind. And all of this continues despite many educator and parent efforts to create programs that help students maintain or continue their learning during the summer months.
What do effective summer learning programs look like? Well, according to most sources we read, they look at lot like school. There is summer school and there are summer reading programs and summer math programs. It has caused us to wonder whether the summer thinking programs are and where the fun is. Students too often find school dull and irrelevant. It just doesn’t make sense to give them more of that over the summer.
We believe that summer can be a time of learning acceleration and in ways that are engaging, relevant and fun. One option is BrainWare SAFARI, our cognitive training software program. It develops 41 cognitive skills and looks and feels like a video-game. So far so good. But what happens when students use it over the summer? In one study, students improved their cognitive ability to the same degree as students who did the program for three months during the school year, 4 years and 3 months. And what about academics? There the gains were not quite as high as students who used the program during the school year, but, rather than losing ground over the summer, students gained on average 13 months of academic performance (reading and math tests).
We’ve also brainstormed some other ways to keep kids’ brains active and getting stronger over the summer. Some can be found on our website at Get a Summer Brain Boost! And we’ll be discussing others – connecting everyday experiences, like the beach, the grocery store and the playground, to activities to build thinking skills – in our upcoming webinar. It’s definitely not more of the same old school.
If you have other ideas for great brain-building activities to enjoy over the summer, let us know! (firstname.lastname@example.org)