“Think of all of those nights you spent memorizing the complete citric-acid cycle, all of the polyatomic ions, and every past US President! Think of every lead you refilled in your mechanical pencils after writing and rewriting essays! All of this was worth something! Don’t you go out there and make it all worth nothing!” If school was a football game, this should be the pep talk given before summer break. Summer learning loss is an actual condition; it even has its own Wikipedia page! Research has shown that students actually do lose some of their knowledge over the summer. A large portion of students who were tested at the beginning and end of summer with the same standardized tests showed significant decreases in test scores. While summer gives students a much needed break from the stressful monotony of school days, it also can set the trap for lazy, brain-draining behavior. It is important to defend yourself against summer learning loss.
Read the Plays
The best players know their play books inside and out. Like players, students have books they are required to know as well– the classics that high school students complain about to each other. Teachers do not force students to read merely for the rewarding look of terror on the students’ faces. Reading comprehension is actually a key part of success in school and life.
In the future, students must read legal agreements (not just check the “I agree” box!) and sign binding documents.Though now, grades and scores are important. To get a quality standardized test scores and high grades, a student must clearly understand reading passages, questions, and writing prompts. Reading comprehension can deteriorate without constant practice. Luckily, a study done by James Kim of Harvard Graduate School of Education, cited in Time Magazine, concluded that reading four to five books over the summer can slow, or even stop, summer learning loss. A book club can keep you interested and accountable. So, with all of the free time during summer break, it is time to pick out a few good books of your choosing and read until your heart is content.
To prepare for or reflect on a game, players sit down and watch game film. This is a time to learn from mistakes and successes. Learning can still happen over the summer, and much of it can be learned from a screen. TED Talks can teach students about nearly anything they want to learn about and many of them come paired with a valuable life lesson to boot. Picking one related to topics in school can serve as an entertaining refresher. Documentaries are also great ways to go in-depth on your chosen topic. During the school year it may be difficult to devote enough time to watching a full-length documentary but during summer break there is enough time to watch multiple documentaries. If you recently finished an American history class, consider watching America: The Story of Us. If you recently finished a physics class and are moving on to AP Physics, consider watching Quantum Theory. There is a wealth of digital knowledge waiting to be discovered.
Athletes may have a certain favorite sport, but most of them respect the practice of cross training. Cross training is when an athlete participates in a different activity to work muscle groups that may be neglected during their other activities.
Often, activities that are not even meant to be considered cross training have a way of exercising the body. In the same way, students may participate in other activities that are not directly education, but still stimulate the brain. Board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and Balderdash encourage players to think strategically and build off of knowledge learned in school. Getting a job as a cashier would require spot-on math skills. Volunteering at a conservancy or zoo would require specific biological knowledge. Even intern here with TP! By cross training over the summer, students can go to school without physically going to school.
The best advice for beating summer learning loss during summer break is to enjoy it while doing productive activities. Be sure to enjoy all of the things you finally have time for during break, but be wise to not let nine months of school go to waste in three months of summer. Turn on a summer playlist and start seizing the day!