Avoiding Summer Learning Loss for Struggling Learners

By Jennifer Aceves, Head of Upper Division & Hallie Harding, Head of Lower Division at Noble Academy

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, school is coming to a close. What does summer mean for your family? Vacations, cookouts, days at the pool, homework…wait, homework?!?! While students are always relieved to escape homework for three months, there is a lot of research about summer learning loss that supports students continuing to engage in academic endeavors during the summer months. Students with learning differences could be at even more risk of losing ground over the summer, but many of these students are also working so hard to keep up during the school year that the long break can be refreshing to them. As a parent, how do you find a balance?

The best advice would be to use your child’s interests to your advantage and build in as many learning opportunities that you can into those activities. If there are learning tasks that your child identifies as tedious or unpleasant (some students hate reading), create a schedule so that your child knows what to expect and can see that 20 minutes of reading every other day isn’t really taking up their entire summer. Involve your child’s friends for a book club or other academic playdate or recruit a neighbor or family member who your child admires to try to lessen your child’s resistance to the activity.

There are so many ideas and resources out there for summer learning that it can be overwhelming, so where should you begin? First of all, start with your child’s current teacher(s). He or she should know your child’s strengths and weaknesses and give you specific recommendations of what skills to target this summer. Comments from report cards and parent teacher conferences can be great clues as to what your child needs to work on.

Most schools have a summer reading program, but did you know that math and spelling are actually the two skill areas where students experience the most loss over the summer? Emphasizing math in your family’s activities such as planning a trip or a party, cooking, or budgeting for a vacation can help reinforce skills in a fun and authentic way. Turning spelling into a game or using it to pass the time during long car trips can be motivating.

If you do have a child with a disability, you may want to look for outside help with your child’s academics. If you are looking for a tutor or academic camp, ask for the credentials of the staff and what their experiences are in teaching children with similar disabilities. Children with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism thrive in a structured, supportive environment. Keeping that structure through the summer months can be very comforting and helpful.

Noble Academy in Greensboro offers summer camps for a variety of ages and interests. From an intensive six week multi-sensory language experience for young struggling readers, to a workshop for high school students preparing for the SAT, our staff is highly trained to individualize instruction for all learners. If your child is more creative, knitting, pottery, and sports camps are also available; camps are open to all students in the community, regardless of a diagnosed learning disability. To see the entire list of camps please refer to our website. Many parents find that lining up an academic camp with an enrichment camp is a great way to mix learning concepts with pleasurable recreational activities. A new offering hosted at Noble Academy in collaboration with the ADHD Clinic at UNCG is the NC Summer Program for Kids. This is a full day, highly structured, fun, and supportive summer treatment program for students with ADHD and other similar diagnoses. To learn more about this unique experience visit their extensive website http://www.ncsummerprogramforkids.org.

Are you interested in learning more about how to best help your student this summer? Please join us at the next Triad LDA meeting on Tuesday, May 9 at 7:00 pm at Noble Academy. We will explore many of these ideas in greater detail. Noble Academy is a comprehensive educational setting that provides students in grades K-12 with learning differences and ADHD a safe and supportive environment where they can reach their highest potential. We’re still enrolling for next year so feel free to drop in at our weekly Thursday morning Open Houses from 9:30 – 11:00 or call for a tour.

*Sponsored by Noble Academy


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