The research is clear that ALL young people who don’t engage in educational activities over the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and 2.6 months of math computation skills. That loss has a cumulative, long-term effect.
Teachers are all too familiar with this loss of knowledge and ability over the summer months when education is put on hold. Most teachers have to spend up to 6 weeks reviewing material and “catching” students back up to where they need to be functioning for the new school year.
The brain functions like a muscle and needs to be exercised so it won’t atrophy.
The following are some suggestions for summer activities.
I encourage parents to build reading and writing into everyday activities. Some ideas are: (1) watching TV with the sound off and closed captioning on, (2) reading directions for how to play a new game, or (3) helping with meals by writing up a grocery list, finding things in the grocery store, and reading the recipe aloud for mom or dad during cooking time.
Encourage writing. Give each of your students a stamped, addressed postcard so they can write to you about their summer adventures. Or recycle school notebooks and paper into summer journals or scrapbooks. Another way to engage young writers is to encourage your students to spend some time researching and writing stories about their community. Not only does it build research and writing skills, but helps kids develop a deeper sense of place.
Watch a garden grow. This builds research, reading, and writing skills. Children are encouraged to write questions and observations in a summer garden journal. Check out the website www.ReadWriteThink.org for some ideas along these lines. .
Looking for more than just a movie? The Kids Off the Couch website takes what kids love — good films, books, music and digital media — and uses it to inspire family adventures.
Plan ahead for fall. Work with the teachers a grade level above to develop a short list of what their new students have to look forward to when they return to school. For example, if rising third graders will be studying ancient cultures, check out educational TV, movies, or local museums that can provide valuable background information on that topic.
** Learning Enhancement Center is also offering their own 3-month, hour a day, summer program for kids of all ages.