Summer Learning means Summer Fun

June 13, 2016
Written by:
Guest Author

summer learning means summer fun

Summer Learning means Summer Fun

Includes # 22 and #72 from’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list!


Summer is glorious time for exploring, enjoying the outdoors and creative learning. It should not be a time when reading, writing and math skills slide backwards.  Yet many of these skills are lost over summer, and it doesn’t have to be that way!

Who loses what over the summer?

Summer learning has often been confused with summer school. In other words, the kids who need to do math, reading and writing over the summer are “those” kids who could not get it done over the school year.

Researchers have proven this idea wrong again and again.  There is no difference in how much school year skill is lost between race, gender or IQ groups.  This means the smartest kid loses as much skill as the struggling student.

It is simply how our brains work.  If you haven’t dialed a phone number in three months, it is tough to remember it.  But if you have dialed it once a week, it is easy to recall.  You have done the hard work of teaching the phone number over the school year, don’t let it drain out of your child’s brain over the summer.

New Ideas for Summer Learning

Summer offers the opportunity to learn by exploring and doing, usually in less traditional, more activity driven ways than during the school year.  There are several keys to success for a good summer learning experience.

Reading Choice
Allowing your child to choose reading material ( #22 on’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list) is the only research proven way to motivate a reader.  Over the summer, popular culture books are the most popular – books on athletes, musicians, and movie characters top the list.  It may not be what we would like to read about, but the key is to keep kids reading!

Math Facts Fast
Over the summer, practicing math facts in quick bursts a few times a week is enough.  Math skills are lost at the quickest rate in the first 2 weeks away from practice, so make sure you do some facts every week.  No need to “drill and kill” to keep facts fresh!

Do it differently
Spin an egg, make a rainbow (# 72 on the 101 Things To Do This Summer list) or play with flubber! The key to preventing summer learning loss is doing things differently. Allow your child to experiment and create her own learning adventures.

The key to a great summer is to review enough to keep school year skills fresh and to play enough to learn new skills!


Donna Lasinski

Donna Lasinski developed the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program to link the school year to home over the summer while she was a parent of students at Haisley Elementary School in Ann Arbor. She discovered that students and families at her school didn’t have a good way to stay connected to learning during summer months.

The program Lasinski developed for her school in summer 2007 was so successful that she decided to make it available to other families and schools in Ann Arbor, across Michigan and around the country. Since then, the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program has been nominated for an Excellence in Summer Learning Award through the John Hopkins Summer Learning Center, has received an Excellence in Education.