A New Perspective: Avoiding summer learning loss

For most kids - it's summer break but that doesn't mean they should be taking a break from the school books entirely.

For most kids - it's summer break but that doesn't mean they should be taking a break from the school books entirely.

Statistics show students score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do at the beginning of summer vacation - Onlinecollege.org

"Typically, students lose about two months of mathematical computation skills as well as reading skills over the summer," said Laura Matchett, GRASP Reading Consultant.

Research shows that teachers typically spend between four to six weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer.

"GRASP is a summer bridge program intended for students to be able to practice the skills that they've gained throughout the school year," said Matchett. "To have someone to report to, so to have some feedback and also for the parents as well as the students to feel supported."

Northwestern Michigan College has been offering GRASP for more than 30 years and teachers say it fills up each summer.

"The program has a series of lessons -one lesson a week that the students complete and they mail it to us by the end of the week,"said Matchett. "We come in at the beginning of the week. We open up all the mail and we grade all the lessons."

Parents can choose reading, math or both for their student. They can also choose the grade level.

"A lot of students are maybe behind a grade level or two or working above grade level or two," said Matchett. "This is intended to just be practice so they're not learning new skills."

For one mom, she says a program like this has helped her son's math skills improve.

"I think it keeps him focused and doing things," said Laura Jaquish, Thor's Mother. "It's important to also do fun things during the summer because it is summer but it keeps him [Thor] connected with school. So when they go back in fall it's not like a rude awakening."

But if you can't be apart of a specific program, Matchett says it's all about the practice. So simply, taking your kids to the library or giving them workbooks through the summer days can help, too.

Matchett says programs like GRASP shouldn't be a struggle for kids or the parents. She says it's just intended to be practice and should be confidence building work they can do independently.

Since GRASP is a mail-in program, students all across the state can take part.

The program is for grades K-8th.

Currently, there are still openings for student's to enroll.

For dates and enrollment information, click here.