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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Martin

What is Summer Slump? Useful Strategies to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

Student completing school work

“It's summer!! School is out!”

The sentiment is shared by many school-aged children and parents. Summer provides a well-deserved break from the routine and responsibilities of the academic year. However, it is important to ensure that your student maintains their newly acquired skills and avoids a period of regression, commonly termed the “summer slump.” In the last year, researchers have published new studies using MAP Growth Data to document student learning patterns during the summer. The study “School’s out: The Role of Summers In Understanding Achievement Disparities,” was recently published in the American Educational Research Journal and examined the magnitude and variability in summer learning loss across grades 1–8. This study found that the average student lost 17–34% of the prior year’s learning gains during summer break, as well as that students who lose ground in one summer are more likely to also lose ground in subsequent summers. Summer learning loss can also affect students with diverse learning needs in the same manner as their peers. Here are some considerations and strategies to prevent summer learning loss for students with diverse learning needs:

  • Skill regression: Students with disabilities may experience a loss or regression of academic skills over the summer break. This can be especially significant for students who require ongoing interventions or specialized instruction to support their learning needs. Without consistent practice and reinforcement, skills in areas such as reading, writing, math, and communication can decline.

  • Limited access to support services: During the school year, students with disabilities often receive various support services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or specialized instruction. These services may be reduced or discontinued during the summer break, leading to a lack of ongoing support for skill development and maintenance.

  • Disruption of routines and structure: The transition from a structured school environment to the less-structured nature of summer can be challenging for students with disabilities. Routines and predictability can be beneficial for their learning and overall well-being. The absence of these routines can impact their ability to engage in consistent learning activities and maintain progress.

  • Reduced opportunities for social interaction: Summer break often means a decrease in social interactions and opportunities for peer relationships. For students with disabilities, social skills development is crucial, and the absence of regular social interactions can impede their progress in this area.

Preventing the summer slump, also known as summer learning loss, is important to ensure that children continue to engage in learning and maintain their academic progress during the summer break. To mitigate summer learning loss for students, consider the following strategies:

  1. Structured learning activities: Incorporate structured learning activities into your child's summer routine. Set aside regular time for reading, writing, math practice, and other academic activities. This can help maintain skills and prevent regression.

  2. Enrichment programs and camps: Explore summer enrichment programs, camps, or community activities that cater to the interests and needs of students with diverse learning needs. These programs often offer educational and recreational opportunities that can support ongoing learning and socialization.

  3. Continued access to support services: Coordinate with your child's school or educational team to explore options for accessing support services during the summer. Some schools or organizations may offer extended school-year programs or continued access to therapies and interventions.

  4. Parent-guided activities: Engage in activities at home that align with your child's learning goals and areas of interest. Utilize educational apps, online resources, educational games, and hands-on activities to keep them engaged in learning throughout the summer.

  5. Maintain a structured routine: Establish a daily routine during the summer that includes regular times for learning activities, breaks, physical activity, and social interactions. Consistency and structure can help students with disabilities navigate the summer break more effectively.

  6. Collaborate with educators: Maintain open communication with your child's teachers and educational team. Seek their input and recommendations for summer learning resources, strategies, and materials tailored to your child's specific needs.

Every child is unique and strategies should be individualized to meet their specific needs and abilities. By providing ongoing opportunities for learning, engagement, and support, you can help minimize the impact of summer learning loss for students with diverse learning needs. For more information on strategies, tips, and tools to support your child’s speech, language, and academic skills, contact us at



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