we_are_oneSchool is almost over and the kids are ready for SUMMERl! It’s time to play video games, go to the pool and really just relax. While these are all fun summer activities, it turns out that inactive summers can really result in what’s called the “Summer Slide”. All kids tend to forget some of what they’ve learned over the summer, resulting in losing on average 2.6 months of math skills. Some students may even lose reading and spelling skills depending on their activities throughout the summer. At best, students will not grow academically and lose one to three months of learning. So you’re probably asking, “What can I do to prevent the “Summer Slide” from happening in my house?” Here are ten tips to get you started:

  1. Make a plan.
  2. Look for local programs with substantial reading and math components that include an evaluation of what your child has learned. Try to incorporate what they learned during the school year when planning summer activities.
  3. Look for small, high-quality summer programs that allow you to get involved so you can continue the learning at home. The program’s instructors should be experienced, well-trained and have clear expectations.
  4. Determine the specific areas where your child has the most difficulty. You want to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes each day working on these skills using online resources, materials from teacher supply stores and games. Make sure to include math skills practice even if it is a strength.
  5. The library is a wonderful free resource, and you should try to make a weekly visit! The library offers a variety of classes and events each month that you can sign your child up for.
  6. Make time for your child to read every day. Kids may enjoy reading a book that has been turned into a movie, then watching the movie or traveling to where the book took place. Read the same book as them so you can discuss together!
  7. Math requires practice and because of this, math skills decrease the most over summer. You should have your kids complete three challenging math problems per day, play games where math or reasoning is required or take advantage of the many apps or websites that offer math games. One site with fun math games is http://pbskids.org/games/math/.
  8. Encourage writing and allow your child to be creative! Have kids keep a journal, either the old fashioned way or a digital journal (try the app “Diaro”) that incorporates the technology they love. Have them send postcards from camp or your vacations to keep in touch with relatives.
  9. Make sure that your kids stay active, exercise and eat well. Their overall health has a huge impact on brain-power!
  10. Remember that summer learning should be fun! Learning is more effective when it is fun, active and engaging!

Looking for more ideas? Check out the John Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning at http://www.summerlearning.org/.

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