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Preventing the "Summer Slide"

Tips for keeping academic skills sharp while school is out

June 2014

Summer is here, and if your children are like most, they're looking forward to long days outside and lots of fun with family and friends. The farthest thing from their minds, and possibly yours, is the new school year that will be beginning in as little as eight weeks. Unfortunately, those eight weeks outside of the classroom can cause a significant loss of learning.

Studies have found that math and reading skills in particular can be lost over the summer. Jill E., a teacher at Indianapolis Public Schools, states that she often sees the impact of summer "brain drain." She reports many of her kindergarten students that had once achieved mastery on a task, such as memorizing sight words, have forgotten the skills by the end of the summer, stressing regular practice is key. "If it's not done on a daily basis they lose the retention of material, which then puts those kids behind when starting the next grade."

While this may seem alarming, there are many small things parents can do at home to keep skills sharp. Long, boring days filled with academics are not the answer, as it is more beneficial to engage children in regular, daily summer activities for short periods of time that reinforce what they've learned in school.

Avoiding summer learning loss

Develop a routine

Choose a time during the day, whether it is first thing in the morning, after lunch or before bed, to have your child engage in a reading, math or science activity. Try compiling a "menu" of acceptable activities they can choose from, such as reading independently, practicing math flash cards or writing a story.

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Tags: Education, In This Issue, Local, Parenting

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