Lessons in Learning – June 12, 2008
Authors: Canadian Council on Learning (CCL)
Collection: Research Materials
The existing Canadian school calendar, with its long summer vacation, creates a gap in the learning cycle during which students forget some of what they have learned, requiring teachers to devote significant instructional time to review when students return to school.
In this paper, the authors note that the summer break also contributes to an achievement gap between students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and their less-advantaged classmates. Summer learning loss is more pronounced for mathematics-related subjects than for reading or language arts, most likely because many students continue reading over the summer, but few of them practice their math skills.
The authors point to a number of practices that can help reduce summer learning loss, including the implementation of summer reading programs; modifications to school calendars to provide for shorter summer breaks; and systematic instructional reviews that help students solidify their knowledge.
They also call for more specifically Canadian research into summer learning loss.