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