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Across the country, YMCAs and countless other organizations have shifted their out-of-school time focus to preventing summer learning loss.

Summer learning loss typically occurs when students are not productively engaged during the summer months.  With each day of inactivity, children not only “tread” the academic waters – some even regress.

This phenomenon is even more prevalent amongst low-income families that cannot afford to give their children an enriching experience over the summer (camp, clubs, sports, etc.).  This often leaves children significantly behind their classmates when school begins again in the fall.

Luckily, there are quite a few easy things you can do at home to help your kids keep up in the classroom.  Give them a try!

  1. Read, read, and read some more! Perhaps the most important thing you can with your little learner is read.  Get your hands on a summer reading list from your child’s school or the local library, and start right away!

  2. Cook with your kids! What does cooking have to do with learning?  A ton!  Work with them to read directions, measure ingredients, add different amounts and even use fractions!

  3. Take a field trip! You don’t have to live in the big city to visit a museum or a zoo – there are plenty of local cultural organizations nearby.  Learn about art, history, animals, biology, and more!

  4. Keep a journal! Help your child write about their hobbies, friends, or adventures in a journal.  Promote proper spelling and punctuation – and draw pictures to accompany each entry.

  5. Plant a garden! Give your child ownership of some of the plants to promote responsibility.  Then, have them measure the plant’s growth and make a chart showing its progress.

While summer can prove to be an especially difficult time to keep children engaged in learning activities, parents can take simple, inexpensive measures to prevent the summer slide.  The few tips we’ve listed, along with countless others in the same spirit, can make a huge difference in a child’s education.
Bio: Michael Ricci is the Communications Director at the Old Colony YMCA ( – focused on social media, marketing, and grants development.
Headquartered in Brockton, the Old Colony YMCA has six full-facility branches located in Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Middleboro, Stoughton, and Taunton; five summer camps; over 40 childcare sites; and a number of social service programs throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.  Visit us at, follow us @oldcolonyymca, and find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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