According to summerlearning.org, most kids lose about 2.6 months of math skills over the summer and lower income students lose more than 2 months of reading. Parents dread the idea of having their students start the next school year feeling behind and less confident because they’ve slipped behind in math and reading.
What can parents do to prevent summer learning loss while allowing students to have a fun, active summer? Here are a few quick tips to help keep skills sharp and minds inspired over the summer.
1. Read, read, read! Encourage kids to grab a book and read outside, read on the beach, read before bed, and read with others. Post a chart listing every book kids finish reading over the summer, and encourage the whole family to participate and share with weekly book talks. Barnes and Noble is giving away a free book for every eight read, so get reading!
2. Set aside 10-20 minutes a day for a math refresher. Great web resources such as mathletics.com and IXL math provide great web resources for K-12 students to refresh at home. On a road trip or flight, portable video games such as Personal Trainer for Nintendo DS in addition to a ton of learning apps for smartphones and tablets are fun ways K-12 students to practice math skills at their level while on the road.
3. Incorporate learning into daily activities—let kids learn about money by giving them a small allowance or letting them budget a given amount for shopping. Cook with kids to teach fractions and reinforce following directions with recipes. Let kids help build things or design & make clothes to learn about measurement and geometry.
4. Make writing fun by using summer as an opportunity for kids to get creative with writing. Hone in on kids’ interests and channel them into writing. From writing a play, to creating a blog, to writing formal letters to favorite authors or athletes, to writing and submitting a poem or short story to an online magazine, to having a pen pal, or writing a comment to a newspaper, summer writing empowers kids and helps them develop a love for the written word without the restrictions of the classroom.
5. Hiring a summer reading, writing, or math enrichment tutor for younger students, or a test-prep tutor for older students helps ensure time is made for summer learning, and provides an outside mentor to work with students.
6. Test prep (ISEE, SSAT, PSAT, SAT & ACT) is especially effective over the summer as it both reinforces academic skills, and allows kids to prepare without the added stress of school and homework. Summer is also a great time for kids to take a homeschool course to lighten their academic load during the year. Check out our summer programs for great deals!
Keeping kids up to speed over the summer takes just a few hours a week, and can be fun and engaging. Studies repeatedly show huge academic losses in the summer months, and these losses can be easily prevented with a simple course of action. Learning shouldn’t stop just because school does, and summertime allows kids to explore their own intellectual curiosity.