There is an increasing amount of international and New Zealand based research into summer learning loss and its impact on student achievement. Several key researchers in this area have conducted a range of intervention studies to identify effective strategies to counter the effect of summer learning loss. Lessons learned from these include:

Associate Professor James Kim (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Dr Thomas White (University of Virginia), and Associate Professor Jonathon Guryan (Northwestern University)... and colleagues

  • To improve reading abilities over summer, students must be provided with a wide variety of books that match their reading and interest levels and know how to monitor comprehension
  • It’s not enough just to give students books – in one of their studies when they just gave out books the students did no better over summer than students who did no reading over summer
  • Comprehension activities need to be guided and monitored by an adult. Teachers can support summer reading by going over comprehension strategies before the end of the school year and follow up with parents and students over summer (e.g., phone calls)
  • Parents and families can help be asking questions and talking about what they are reading

Professor Richard Allington (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), Professor Anne McGill-Franzen (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), and colleagues

  • Providing easy access to self-selected books for summer reading over three successive years limited summer learning loss
  • The greatest reading gains were made by students from the most economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • The students in these studies were younger than in other studies – they were in grade 1 and 2

Professor Stuart McNaughton (University of Auckland) and colleagues

  • Finding out what students like to read and engaging them in reading motivating texts helps reduce summer learning effect
  • Mentor students to help them develop strategies to enhance their enjoyment of texts
  • Parents play a key role in supporting their child’s learning, including over summer. They need to know the importance of maintaining reading over summer and be supported by schools to ensure they have the skills, confidence and resources to do so
  • At the start of the new school year, teachers need to find out about their students’ summer reading, therefore getting to know their students and their reading interests and practices. This also ensures that the focus is on reading right from the beginning of the school year