It is true that during the summer while students are enjoying themselves their brains can begin losing the information they learned in school the previous year. Some experts estimate that students can lose up to 33% of the material they had been taught in school only months before.
The best way to help students retain the information and material they learned is to have them reinforce it through practice. Students should be encouraged to read this summer at least one day a week. Allow them to choose a book they will enjoy even if it is a graphic novel. The most important thing about summer reading is the student is actually reading, so by selecting books they enjoy or find interesting the odds are better that the student will read the books or stories. To practice other subjects there are free websites such as Mobymax which offer short practice in all subject areas followed by games to reinforce the learning. Students can also search for interesting web quests in subjects that are interesting to them.
Parents can then help reinforce the learning experience by asking them questions about the subjects the student worked on. If the student is reading a book, the parent can read it too and then can facilitate a discussion about the story. Parents can even use movies watched together to help with reading skills. While viewing a movie questions such as "What do you thing will happen next?", "Why do you think the character did or said that?", and after the movie is over, "What was the main idea of the movie?" and "Was there a special message or moral lesson covered by the movie?"
Retaining information in the summer can be made into a fun activity and can be done by the student alone or include several members of the family. The important part is to encourage your child to participate in a fun activity and read enjoyable material during the summer to help them retain the knowledge and skills they were taught during the previous school year. When the new school year rolls around, your child will not only have retained most of last year's skills, but will be ready to learn the new material being presented.