Summer brain drain is the loss of academic skills over a period of time that a student is away from school, most usually summer vacation. Brain drain is also referred to as summer slide, learning loss or regression. The research shows that the average student loses 2 1/2 months of math computational skills previously learned, regardless of family income and educational levels.
It can take upwards of two months at the start of a school year for the average student to regain all that is lost due to summer brain drain.
Students with learning difficulties experience even greater brain drain than their peers and require more support and time to regain the ground lost at the start of each school year. When students are already challenged to process and retain learning, any break in the academic routine hinders these students to a greater and cumulative effect. The effects of brain drain build up over time and can cause students to be a full grade level below peers over time.
“Some regression is normal in all children — with and without learning disabilities or special needs,” according to Ann Logsdon, a Learning Disabilities Expert on AboutHealth.com. “In some instances, however, students are profoundly affected by lapses in instruction. These students may be unable to store concepts in their long-term memory in a way that can be easily recalled. The amount of instruction they need to recover or ‘recoup’ their abilities may be longer than other students need, and they may need additional instruction to catch up.”
In addition, learning is not always linear for all kids. Some kids take a few steps back before taking a leap forward. Regardless, the experts agree that for students who experience difficulties with math and reading, any kind of regression takes them much longer to recover from. This is why most researchers and teachers recommend more formal programs for students over the summer, rather than just a library incentive program or a workbook.
Working with a qualified education professional over the summer who can monitor skill maintenance, help avoid regression, and even work towards gains, can make the all the difference.
Looking for more information and tips to help your child avoid Summer Brain Drain?