Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prevent The Summer Learning Gap

Summer is a great time to relax, have fun, and enjoy the hot sun. The teachers love the summer as well, because it does provide us with a mental and physical break. Don't let that be your excuse for not taking some time to learn something new or practice an old skill. There are many ways that parents and kids can work together to prevent that summer learning gap that can be detrimental to kids' learning success in the coming school year.

#1- Read EVERDAY!!
I can't stress that enough. That is the most important and probably the most effective way to keep kids sharp over the summer. Keep in mind the age of your child and what books are appropriate. If you have a limited supply of books at home, take a trip to the library and check out some books for FREE or hit up Goodwill and buy a used paperback book for 59 cents. If you live in a neighborhood with many kids of the same age, organize a book club where everyone reads the same book and has discussion based on the book. As a parent you also need to set the example by reading everyday, even if it is reading your favorite magazine or the morning paper. Reading is reading!

#2- Find a hobby
Children who have hobbies are more likely to be motivated to learn. It could be rock collecting, gardening, model cars, camping, etc.

#3 Set aside a time for "school."
My mom always made sure we had a set time each day during the summer to practice skills from the previous year and start practicing some early skills for the upcoming school year. This may be as little as 30 minutes. Your child can complete a Summer Bridge Workbook (you can find these at Barnes and Noble) or just practice using and reading the sight words for the next grade. Most school districts have resources available to print out and use.

#4 Take little field trips
Pack up the bags and head to the beach. Be sure to bring a writing journal and record observations as a way to practice science skills. Go to a museum. Sometimes museums will offer summer specials for families.

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