You’ve probably heard the term “brain drain” tossed around in the media. What is it? Is it a real phenomenon?

Brain drain, also known as summer learning loss, summer slide, or summer holiday ‘unlearning’ refers to students’ loss of skills and knowledge during the summer weeks when school is out.

Unfortunately, summer learning loss is very real. Research shows that:

  • Students lose an average of one month of school learning over summer vacation/holiday.
  • Some students — especially from disadvantaged backgrounds — lose up to three months of learning.
  • Summer learning loss is greatest in math computation, reading and spelling.
  • Teachers of all grade levels often need to spend the first several weeks of each school year reteaching what students learned the year before.

Why do students lose learning over the summer? Limited access to books and a lack of positive reading experiences are two of the main reasons. The good news is that, according to the research, there are some clear solutions. Educators and parents can help:

  • Reading just 6 books with your children over the summer can help retain learning from the preceding year.
  • Build your home library. Have a selection of books on hand from which your children can choose — children are more engaged when they select the books they read.
  • Include books that reinforce basic learning concepts, especially math.
  • “Unpack” the books through discussion and activities.

Our summer reading list below gives some great suggestions for building your home library and keeping the dreaded brain drain at bay. Want to extend the books further? Download our “Book Report” printable (US version/UK version), which gives children of all ages a chance to practice their writing/language skills and explain why they love a book!

 

Barefoot Books Summer Skill-Building Reading List

Ages 0+

Concepts
Big and Small (opposites)
US / UK
Cleo’s Color Book (colors)
US / UK
Fast and Slow (opposites)
US / UK
Octopus Opposites (opposites) US / UK

Math and Shapes
Bear in a Square
US / UK
Cleo’s Counting Book
US / UK
Counting Cockatoos
US / UK
One Moose, Twenty Mice
US / UK
Ship Shapes US / UK

Alphabet
African Animals ABC
US / UK
Alligator Alphabet
US / UK
Cleo’s Alphabet Book
US / UK
Zoe and her Zebra US / UK

Summery Science
Secret Seahorse (ocean animals) US / UK

Ages 3+

Math and Shapes
Shape Song Swingalong US / UK
We All Went on Safari USUK

Summery Science
A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea (food chain) US / UK
Island in the Sun (conservation) USUK
Out of the Blue (conservation) USUK

Vocabulary
Thesaurus Rex (synonyms) US / UK

Ages 5+

Math
The Real Princess US / UK

Anthologies to Read Together
The Barefoot Book of Animal Tales
US / UK
The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales
US / UK
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales
US / UK
The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales
US / UK
The Barefoot Book of Pirates
US / UK
The Barefoot Book of Princesses
US / UK
Indian Tales
US / UK
Tales from Old Ireland
US / UK
The Wise Fool US / UK

Early Independent Readers:
Monster Stories #1: The Feathered Ogre US / UK MS #2: The Mother of Monsters US / UK
MS #3: The Abominable Snowman US / UK
MS #4: The Terrible Chenoo US / UK
MS #5: Rona Long-Teeth
US / UK
MS #6: Grim, Grunt, and Grizzle-Tail US / UK

Check out more of our early independent readers: US / UK

Ages 8+

Brush up on the Classics!
The Adventures of Odysseus
US / UK
Demeter and Persephone
US / UK
Orpheus and Eurydice US / UK Theseus and the Minotaur US / UK

Check out more of our classics: US / UK

What are you doing to fight Brain Drain this summer??

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