Understanding and Combating Summer Learning Loss

Summer Learning Loss

The terms summer learning loss, summer setback, and summer slide all refer to the same controversial phenomenon: the decline in student achievement levels throughout summer break to the extent that students start the new school year performing poorer academically relative to the beginning of summer.

The existence of summer slide remains hotly contested, with one comprehensive study confirming an overall decline in student learning throughout the holiday, while others reveal considerable fluctuation across the impact of summer break on standardized exam scores. In conclusion: summer learning loss might exist, but the extent to which your child will feel its impact and, subsequently, the extent to which parents should worry is student-dependent. 

To those looking to maintain or strengthen academic performance over the summer holiday, The Enrichery offers the following suggestions inspired by our own summertime Academic Coaching and Enrichment Programs.


Math Skills

Studies supporting the existence of summer learning loss have generally found a greater negative impact of students’ sustained absence from school on math performance compared to English and the humanities. One Harvard study points to the fact that math isn’t a particularly commonplace subject, while verbal reasoning and comprehension skills support the flow of daily family life. Especially if your child struggles with math during the academic year, the summer holiday provides a great opportunity to sharpen, and even improve, your child’s math skills.

If you’re looking for additional resources to support your child, you might consider purchasing a math textbook that aligns with the grade they just completed. This could help reinforce what they’ve learned and provide a solid foundation for the upcoming school year. Unless you feel comfortable teaching your child new material, we generally do not encourage exposing them to unfamiliar or advanced math content without proper support (such as an experienced Academic Coach) as they may eventually struggle to adopt the methods preferred by their teachers in the new academic year.


Reading Skills

Long-term, active reading has been shown to improve students’ verbal reasoning skills, knowledge retention, and overall academic performance. At The Enrichery, our coaches have noticed a positive correlation between reading aptitude and Executive Functioning skills, particularly Sustained Attention, Working Memory, and Persistence. A typical humanities-centered Academic Coaching program might involve assigning students novels to read throughout the summer holiday, both as independent homework and during one-on-one sessions. Relevant activities you can implement at home with your child also include completing reading comprehension assignments, writing reflections/responses to a given text, and working on creative writing exercises.

“Even casually discussing a book with a student can strengthen their Executive Functioning skills,claims one Enrichery coach.If my student can draw reasonable and creative predictions about a novel’s plot, they’re activating their Working Memory by reflecting upon what they’ve already read to make an educated guess about the future. Being able to describe how a student relates to a literary character or their struggle can promote Self-Awareness. Asking students to explain the meaning of words in the context of a passage and then encouraging them to justify their responses with textual evidence engages their Metacognition skills. Reading develops so many essential life tools!”

Unsure how to find the right reading material for your child? Kick off your internet search with a simpleX grade reading level textsand amplify your/your child’s preferences with additional descriptors likeclassicsornon-fiction.Alternatively, reach out to one of The Enrichery’s four offices located in the Greater Houston area and inquire about our summertime Academic Coaching program. 


The Enrichery offers Academic Coaching and Executive Functioning sessions for students of all ages and levels throughout the summer. For more information, submit a request to contact us at https://theenrichery.com/contact-us-submission/!