Kelly Chandler-Olcott, Laura J. & L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in the Department of Reading and Language Arts, wrote about summer learning loss, common advice, and what research really shows for The Conversation.
In “What advice articles miss about ‘summer loss'” Chandler-Olcott draws on her work with the Syracuse University Summer Literacy Clinic, which provided literacy enrichment to 3-12 graders; and the Summer Writing Institute, an enrichment program for students transitioning to high school, which she discusses further in her new book A Good Fit for All Kids: Collaborating to Teach Writing in Diverse, Inclusive Settings. She writes that while the so-called “summer slide” is real, many tips and strategies put the burden on families to determine what learning strategies work best for their children, design activities, and then engage children during the workday or enroll students in costly programs.
Instead, she advocates that schools can bridge the summer gap by providing summer learning supports both in and out of the traditional school setting:
“Schools might also offer no- or low-cost programs on site that combine interest-driven academics with a mix of enrichment activities such as dance, drama, or meditation…The National Summer Learning Association found that 51 percent of families not participating in a summer program would do so if one were available.”
Schools can also support home initiatives, like providing books to increase summer reading. “If such programs engage students without stigmatizing them and help teachers refine their craft, that investment could be well worth it.”