Current statistics indicate that the summer learning loss phenomena is one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income students. Additionally, it is a prominent contributor to our nation’s high school dropout rate. For many of these students, what should be a fun time to relax and unwind, actually translates into economic uncertainty, as well as increasing gaps in achievement, employment, college and career success.

Every summer, lower income youth lose 2-3 months of reading skills, while their higher income counterparts make slight reading gains. Over the years, these losses can add up. By the fifth grade, studies show that summer learning loss can be the reason lower income students are 2 ½ to 3 years behind their higher income counterparts. If you’re as appalled by these statistics as I am, you might be asking if there’s anything you can do to change the pattern here? The answer….yes, there is!

Keeping in mind the importance of ensuring your 9th-12th grade student is involved, engaged, and learning during the summer break, one of the best ways to help prevent summer learning loss is to simply have your children read.

A summer reading list is a great place to start. Set a goal with your child. Have them commit to reading, say, 5 books over the summer. Set a Summer Reading Lists for Grades 9-12 time for them to read every night. Make sure they take their book with them when they go to the beach, lake, or pool.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s, there was a popular literacy campaign whose slogan read, “Reading is Fundamental”. As an education professional seeking new ways to help children improve their reading and comprehension skills, I often think about this. Fundamental means to have a foundation or basis, something basic. Reading is definitely the foundation for all learning. You can’t learn math without encountering word problems. History and science both involve a lot of reading. Even high school and college students are constantly being asked to read and decode texts, no matter what the subject. Because it’s involved in literally everything we do, if you can only make time for one school-based task with your child each night, it should be reading. It’s important, it’s fundamental!!!

Remember, reading comprehension is a type of transaction in which the reader is asked to decode and give meaning to words on paper, but it is not that simple. Comprehension, or the capacity of the mind to read and understand as defined by Mr. Webster, also depends upon the reader’s prior knowledge, emotions, and current needs. It is a part of each individual’s unique experiences. It just makes sense, then, that increasing the amount of exposure to such opportunities can increase comprehension.

Now is the time to act. Encourage your child to read over the summer, either by using a list of age appropriate books or call Dynamis Learning Academy to join a local book club. Helping to combat summer learning loss could be one of the most impactful things you can do for the future of your child.