J’Dana Holsinger, ‘Doah Staff Writer
April 24, 2013
Many of us students here at Shenandoah University are getting excited for the upcoming summer break, busy planning our long list of vacations and leisure activities that we cannot wait to take part in over the three month break. Towards the latter half of the spring semester we reach what is known as the “home stretch,” and everyone’s focus shifts to the upcoming summer. Whether you will be graduating next month or returning in the fall, it is important for students to continue to engage in educational activities over the long break.
Students of all ages in this country suffer from brain drain during the summer. This is due to remaining intellectually inactive for such a long period of time. Mathematical computation skills and literacy skills are often the hardest hit, especially for lower income students.
According to a scholarly article written by Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle and Linda Olson titled “Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap,” the average student will lose one month worth of information across all grade levels and achievement areas over the summer. Some students could possibly lose more than that if they do not have access to some kind of thought-provoking or educational activity over the three month break.
To put it in perspective for you, a student at S.U. who is paying approximately $30,000 for a year of college tuition is losing around $4,000 worth of knowledge over the summer. No one wants to let money like that go to waste. Forgetting material that you learned the previous year also sets you back when it comes time to advance to the next grade or semester. This wastes students’ and teachers’ time and resources by having to start the school year with reviews of material that has already been covered.
In order to combat this epidemic known as the summer learning loss, professionals in the education field recommend that students take part in summer learning activities such as summer camps, local library reading programs, or community programs designed for children.
There are also many daily activities that older students can take part in to stimulate and put their knowledge to use such as baking and cooking, reading, doing puzzles, organizing things or challenging oneself to doing online homework problems.
It does not take long to find an everyday activity that requires math or reading skills or the ability to think critically. If you are in the process of taking a foreign language try to find people who can speak that particular language and carry on a conversation with them.
Students should try to put their brainpower to use in any way they can over the coming summer break because if you don’t use it, you might lose it.