Using the Arts to Address Summer Learning Loss

Calvin and Hobbes, B. Watterson

What day is it, indeed?
With the holidays passed, and lake effect snow in full swing, it’s hard to imagine a time when our world isn’t covered in an inch of ice. Believe it or not, it will only be a matter of months before the spring thaw begins, state-wide standardized tests are complete, and persistent visions of summer break appear in the minds of students across the country. As a connoisseur of all things relaxing, I can easily relate, but it’s important to note that with this extended period of summer paradise comes the perennial thorn in the side of every educator and parent: summer learning loss. And what exactly is “summer learning loss?”

From Wikipedia:

Summer learning loss is the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation. The loss in learning varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income. A common finding across numerous studies is that on average, students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning of summer (on the same test).

                For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. All children lose academic skills during the summer months, and family socioeconomic status (SES) is highly correlated to the level of academic growth or decline in the summer months.”

Universally accepted, the best way to address this issue is to keep our students as mentally active as possible during their time off from school. If you’re looking for a way to provide meaningful outlets for creativity, Young Audiences’ teaching artists create academically stimulating fine arts activities designed with common core content standards in mind.

  • Through a partnership between Young Audiences and the Cleveland Institute of Art, students can explore the “rules” of game design to make an original digital or board game that directly connects to curriculum standards.
  • Artist Desmond Davis makes connections between the diverse styles of dance and unique nature of individuals. After comparing the similarities of each dance style, students choreograph  and perform their own original routine.
Desmond Davis

Desmond Davis

  • Robin Pease of Kulture Kids explains to students how to develop compelling characters, settings, and plots. Students use a graphic organizer called STORYBOARD to write and illustrate an original story in comic book format, then use the comic book as a script to create a live performance.
Robin Pease in action.

Robin Pease in action.

Interested in learning more about how to beat the boredom and incorporate fine arts into your summer break programming schedule?  Browse our program guide online or email us at


One Response to Using the Arts to Address Summer Learning Loss

  1. Nicole Kelsey says:

    Help support underfunded art education classes in Pittsburgh schools and our local artists by checking out ARTS, Inc.’s latest auction at:

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