From left: Jennifer Luke, her friend Jane Rocco and little sister Violetta Luke play Scrabble over their summer vacation. | Jennifer Luke photo
From left: Jennifer Luke, her friend Jane Rocco and little sister Violetta Luke play Scrabble over their summer vacation. | Jennifer Luke photo

by Jennifer Luke

Is summer vacation really a good thing when it comes to learning? Studies have shown that, over a big break such as summer vacation, kids can lose up to 2.6 months worth of knowledge learned behind the desk. When school starts back up, the students will begin to realize how much they have forgotten and will have a bit of a tough time relearning it all before they fall too far behind. 

Summer learning loss is caused bu not challenging the mind in educational activities, especially in reading and math. Studies conducted since 1978 have shown that, due to their unschooled summer, students score lower on standard math tests at the beginning of the school year, compared with their performance on the same test before the summer. 

Subject, grade level, and family income are three main reasons responsible for summer learning loss. They have such a tremendous impact on the way it affects any student.

Some subjects are easier to forget than others, for obvious reasons. In math, there is a great deal of material to learn and memorize, therefore it’s easier to forget than some other subjects. In many classes, students may start to realize that some new techniques might override others and force them to forget the alternative way of doing it.

When you are younger, you learn the basics. For example: the alphabet, simple math, spelling out words. That’s all you focus on, so eventually it will stick in your head and stay there. After a couple more years of effortless work, it gets harder. Therefore, it gets easier to forget and difficult to relearn. 

Finally, family income. Depending on the amount of money you have to spare, your child may go to camps, programs, vacations, or stay at home. Camp is a great way to keep the mind active, but it can be pricey. 

What some people don’t realize is that there are entertaining and educational activities waiting. Some board games, such as Monopoly and Scrabble are great for math and spelling. Visiting a local library to check out some good books is free and a perfect thing to do to diminish summer learning loss. Trips to any kind of museum can also open up a brand new world of enjoyable education for your child.

One learning activity you might not have though of is cooking. With all the different measurements and tools, the impact is golden. Baking cakes or cooking a big dinner with your child will improve the way they think about fraction, and measurements. 

The whole situation in not new and shouldn’t have to be hard to solve. Every person who has ever been a student has most likely faced this problem, whether they realized it or not. The best thing to do until school starts is to take part in some of these activities to keep your mind sharp. Don’t let yourself drift too far away from what you learned over the past school year. 

Jennifer Luke, 11, has lived in East Marion her whole life and she really likes it there. In the past school year, she was in 6th grade at Oysterponds Elementary School, where she wote three articles for Newsday’s Kidsday. She plans to keep writing.

East End Beacon
The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

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