With the start of the school year on the way many teachers are preparing themselves to address the summer slide, the learning loss that students experience over the summer. While a little loss may be expected some groups of children are affected more than others.
Blazer and the Miami-Dade County school system conducted research that compared the summer slide across different demographics of children. They found that income level had a significant impact with children from low economic status experiencing significantly greater loss over the summer than children of middle and high economic status. With that information they looked for why?
Children from middle and high economic status families engage in more learning opportunities during the summer. Things like day camps, visits to museums and libraries, and family trips support the kids in continuing to learn over the summer. Kids who are from lower income environments do not often get these opportunities and may experience higher levels of boredom, inactivity, and isolation. However, programs that do things like provide books to children can help to reduce the summer slide.
This makes me wonder about adults. What happens when we, as adults, stop engaging in enriching activities? There are a range of studies about activities to reduce the progression of conditions like dementia but what about before we get to that point? The saying about busy people getting more done makes me wonder if thinking people can think more. By reading a book or going on a trip or even writing this blog, am I preventing my own summer slide?
I’m going to go read a book now.
Blazer, C. & Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Research Services. (2011). Summer learning loss: Why its effect is strongest among low-income students and how it can be combated. Information Capsule, 1011.