Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Fight Summer Brain Drain

For many schoolchildren, the price paid for “fun in the sun” over the summer school break is significant learning loss. In order to counteract this, parents need to provide opportunities for their children to continue to read and do math during the summer months. One way to prevent summer learning loss is to enroll in a supplemental education program (like KUMON!) and make math and reading practice a part of the daily summer routine.

While students need to have fun during the summer, using their academic skills for even a short period of time each day will prevent them from the summer learning loss that plagues so many of their classmates. Here are some suggestions to help create a learning environment that is part of your child’s summer routine:

1. Read for pleasure during the summer – favorite authors, easy-to-read books, magazines, plays, poetry.

2. Read books for the upcoming school year (ask your child’s teacher for suggestions.)

3. Write plays and stories and share them with friends and family.

4. Visit the library weekly and make friends with the librarian, who has a wealth of information to share about books. (Most libraries also offer summer reading programs for children.)

5. Get activity books and do age-appropriate brain teasers, crossword puzzles, or Suduko.

6. Be creative with math. Write equations/problems on big surfaces using finger paints, dry erase markers, or washable chalk.

7. Be a role model for learning. Let your child “catch” you reading; note how you use math throughout the day—in cooking, balancing the checkbook, figuring out gas mileage—and encourage your children to calculate along with you.

8. Create projects: have your child help plan your vacation time, whether it be a day trip or a two-week holiday; research and read books about the destination; use resources, such as the library, the internet; figure out how much the trips would cost, including gas, entertainment, hotels, food, and directions.

Hugs and blessings~

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