Summer Learning Loss

Check out this recent post from our Sylvan Headquarters:

A Break From School Does Not Mean a Break From Learning

Within 24 to 48 hours after learning new concepts, students often begin to forget information. Unless academic theories are reinforced and applied immediately, even the best students may not be able to recall their classroom lessons during school breaks. Although a vacation from school is great for recharging your children’s batteries, it can often offset the learning process.

“Students can lose academic proficiency during school breaks, which could prove troublesome when returning back to school,” said Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D. and vice president of Sylvan Learning Center. “School breaks are an important time for parents to share in everyday learning activities with their children to enhance math, reading, writing, and study skills development.”

No matter what your schedule entails over the school break, whether you are traveling or staying home, it is easy to reinforce learning activities. The following tips are fun ways to help your child continue to learn while away from school.

  • Attend academic camps. To make the most of school breaks, look for camps that provide an academic focus. Programs should offer a broad selection of courses built to suit individual needs while targeting specific subjects and offering a small group environment. Camps can help a child better understand concepts, increase problem-solving skills, and sharpen overall academic development. When selecting an academic camp, look for programs with:
    • Proficiency in the subject of your choosing
    • Tutors with experience teaching children the same age as your child
    • Flexibility in scheduling
  • Write a story. To address writing development, encourage your child to keep a daily journal or write letters to family members to communicate weekly highlights. Encourage your child to read her writings aloud.
  • Create a budget. Ask your child to assist in the creation of a grocery budget. This will help develop math skills and allow children to plan for “extras” that they might want during their break.
  • Play a game. Promote imagination and create your own game. Board games and puzzles are not only fun, but encourage the development of analysis and logic skills. Play together as a family to double the fun.
  • Take a trip to the library. Local libraries offer infinite resources for families and many offer free children’s programs and clubs. Librarians can also help parents find books that are appropriate for your child’s interests and reading level.
  • Explore the Internet. There are an abundance of sites that provide educational enrichment for children and motivate students to study more often and for longer periods of time. For instance, visit to create personalized book lists from more than 7,000 recommended titles. Students in grades K-8 can take quizzes on the books they have read at home or at school and earn prizes for their comprehension.

For free guides and a variety of complimentary activity booklets, visit our Resources page!  Give us a call or fill out the Contact Us form for additional information!

Home Literacy Ideas

Don’t let Summer Brain Drain get you down! As promised, here are a few home literacy activities you can do to help avoid summer learning loss!

1) Grab a beach ball and write the following questions:

What is the plot of the story?
Who are the characters in the story?
What is the setting of the story?
How could you relate this story to your own life?
If you were the author, what would happen next?
Compare and contrast two characters in the story.

Toss the beach ball to your child. Answer the questions your thumb lands on!

2) Encourage your child to read! He or she can read the material found on cereal boxes, soda bottles or candy wrappers! This is both informational and promotes good reading practice.

3) Have your child help by reading recipes as you are cooking!

4) Be silly! Let them spell words in the air using their elbow, finger, foot, etc.

5) Use the letters of your child’s name to form different words.

6) Have your child pick a picture from a newspaper or magazine, and write a story! Be creative!

7) Place Newspaper Hide-and-Seek! Ask your child to think of a common word.  Have them search the newspaper for that word and highlight it.  For younger children, have them find a certain letter.

8) Enlist your child’s help in making the grocery list! Let them write down what you need.

9) Does your child have a favorite athlete, movie star or musician? Encourage them to write a fan letter!

10) Play hopscotch! Have your child say the names or sounds of the letters as they land on each square.  For older children, have them jump on letters to make different words.

These are just a few ideas out of many!  Have fun, be silly and let loose!  Happy summer reading!

Free Family Events In June!

June – school is out and summer is here! Lancaster County has many fun things to see and do throughout the whole summer. Here are a few special events during the month of June:

Family Farm Days at Oregon Dairy – June 11-13  10 A.M.-7 P.M.
Families can visit a real working farm when they take a wagon ride during this annual event at Oregon Dairy. Free samples of milk and ice cream are also available. Other activities include a straw tunnel, petting zoo, chicken bbq, and barrel rides for kids.

Second Friday in Lititz – June 14
Did you know that Lititz was named the Smallest Cool Town in America? Every month on the second Friday, the town of Lititz comes alive as shops stay open and live music is heard in the streets. This Friday is extra special as the community tries to break a Guinness Book of World Records for the most people wearing sunglasses at night!

Celebrate Lancaster – June 28
This annual event that kicks off the Independence Day celebrations across the county showcase the cultural and diversity of the people of Lancaster. Over 25 local vendors will have a variety of food for sale. Musical entertainment in both Binn’s Park and Penn Square includes will include bluegrass, country, and rock music. Be sure to come out to Binn’s Park at 5:45 to hear Sylvan’s own, Matt Wheeler and Vintage Heart! The evening ends with a spectacular fireworks display.

33rd Annual Antiques, Art and Craft Show – June 29  9 A.M.-3 P.M.
The town of Columbia is the host of the long-running event. Over 200 vendors will be set up in Locust Street Park. The show is held rain or shine and offers free parking and shuttle service.


Summer Learning Loss


Campfires, fireflies, sleeping in, driving with the windows down and soaking up the sun are just a few of my favorite things about summer. A break in our daily routines, a chance to escape and time off of school. It all seems so refreshing. But how much damage are we really doing when we take this three month mental break?

Research tells us that “summer brain drain” happens when:

  • there is less reading, conversation and quality time with parents or other significant adults
  • there isn’t access to books, magazines and other entertaining reading materials
  • there aren’t role models to show how lifelong learning is important to children and adults alike
  • summer is filled with boredom, passive time-fillers and little intellectual stimulation

Did you know Summer Learning Loss is greater in math than in reading, and on average, students lose up to 2 months of grade level equivalency in math computation skills?

So what can you do to help your child avoid this? There are quite a few online games, apps and summer camps that can steer you in the right direction. So, let’s make learning fun!

  • Help students find books that are engaging and entertaining (and on grade level!). Use your local library and Sylvan Learning Center as a resource!  It’s what they are for!
  • Keep your child stimulated with plenty of exercise
  • Make sure they keep reading, writing and calculating!
  • Be a good role model!  Make sure you practice what you preach!

Summer is a great time for relaxing and shooting the breeze, just make sure you don’t let too much “drainage” occur! Check back soon for more ideas and activities to boost your brain!