Dia Belgarde has a routine when it comes to her daughter’s summer learning.
The Franklin mom makes sure that Remi, who recently completed preschool, goes over her spelling and counting lessons and she will keep the same study, sleep and play schedule she had during the school year.
“I don’t want her to forget or unlearn some things she learned,” Belgarde said.
Summer learning loss is common for students, educators said.
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Children who spend the summer in front of the television, playing video games or lying on the couch will most likely backslide and lose some of what they were taught over the school year, educators said. Tracking summer learning loss can be difficult, educators said.
Reading and other standardized tests given at the beginning of the school year help give educators a picture of what students lost or in some cases gained during their eight-week summer break.
“You can generally tell if (students) weren’t active,” Creekside Elementary School Principal Mark Heiden said.
Educators at Creekside and other schools across the county are trying to combat the loss of information retention and skills that students had been taught. Parents are advised to limit their child’s’ television time over the summer, find an activity they enjoy and to read.
Reading a book at the child’s grade level daily is one of the best activities that will help a child maintain what they have learned, Heiden said.
“Reading is so intertwined in any aspect of learning,” he said. “Good readers are good learners.”
Educators at Greenwood schools had a seminar that outlined for parents how kids lose some of what they learned over the summer and how joining a summer reading program or reading to their children can stop students from forgetting what they have learned.
Students who live in poverty, defined by schools as being eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, are at greater risk of having summer learning loss, said JoAnn Hurt, Title I specialist at Isom Elementary School.
At Isom, about 70 percent of the students are eligible for lunch assistance. Hurt tries to have conferences with parents to explain how well their children read and how they can be kept at the same reading level during the summer. She sends home booklets with tips on keeping up reading that parents can keep and reference over the summer.
She estimates that about 20 percent of the students will have a lower reading ability when they come back to school.
“(Students) couldn’t read the same books that they could read before,” she said.
Lower income families aren’t as likely to keep books in the home and can’t afford the tutors, educational vacations or even trips to the museum that could slow down or even stop summer learning loss, said Kent Pettet, principal at Needham Elementary School in Franklin.
“Many times, there are a lack of books in the home,” he said.
Pettet pushes literacy programs such reading programs at the library and doing refresher pages on educational websites to help students maintain what they learned during the school year.
Even just doing 15 minutes of brain activity, such as reading or a math worksheet daily, could be enough to stop summer learning loss, Pettet said.