Ways to Prevent the Summertime Backslide
Worried that your children will forget everything they learned over the course of the summer months? You may have more reason than you think to fear the summer brain drain according to a study by Duke University’s Dr. Harris Cooper, a leading expert on summer learning loss. He writes that long summer vacations "break the rhythm of instruction, lead to forgetting, and require a significant amount of review when students return to school in the fall."
According to Cooper’s study, students’ overall achievement test scores drop by about one month, on average, over summer vacation. Skills in mathematics and spelling usually take the biggest hits, with math skills suffering almost a 2.6 month loss in achievement.
Suffering the most are children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who are presented with fewer opportunities to practice math and reading skills over the summer months than their more privileged peers. Their reading comprehension skills suffer the greatest, and their losses add up to a 2 year achievement gap by the time they enter their middle school years.
There are steps that parents can take to help their children learn and even get ahead over the summer months. Club Z!’s summer educational tips will help transform the break from structured learning into an opportunity for students to sharpen their skills through fun and interactive ways. Follow these tips and send your children back to school smarter and more confident than they were when they left.
- Take frequent trips to the library and register your child with a library card. University of Florida’s Richard Allington notes that the best predictor of summer reading loss is a lack of books at home and limited accessto library books; keep a good selection of high interest, level appropriate books around the house. Schedule a consistent "reading time" daily for your child.
- Attend thematic programs at the library. Libraries often host a great variety of summer programs that celebrate reading for kids.
- Talk to your child’s teachers, and ask them what your child will be learning next year at school. This way you can tie in family trips with next year’s curriculum to create a more meaningful, hands-on experience. For example, if your child will be studying a unit on the civil war, plan a visit to Gettysburg.
- Give your child a gift card to a bookstore, or give books as gifts.
- Check out audio books from the library for your child to listen to stories in the car.
- Consider Summer Tutoring: Tutoring services, such as Club Z In-home Tutoring, can help children catch up or get ahead with one-on-one tutoring in the home. Take advantage of the summer months to remediate or accelerate your child in areas like reading comprehension,mathematics, writing or SAT/ACT test prep. Club Z! even offers programs in music and study skills (with an emphasis on note-taking strategies, reading comprehension & prioritizing deadlines) that will help your child start the school year off right.
- Research has revealed a direct connection between learning to play a musical instrument and an increased aptitude in mathematics. Consider introducing your child to music lessons over the summer.
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