Tuesday, July 17, 2012

5 Ways To Boost Summer Learning

During the summer months, school aged children can experience significant academic regression. Once out of school, children can forget what they learn because they aren’t reinforcing and building on the skills they’ve gathered throughout the school year. According to the National Summer Learning Association, children can lose 2 months worth of instructional material during the summer months.

While continuing with formal learning during the summer months may seem like a daunting task for parents to take on, there are definitely everyday things parents and caregivers can do to combat academic regression as part of their daily routine.
 
Parents and caregivers can combat academic regression by providing opportunities for daily learning by:

Providing opportunities for reading. Securing a set of summer books to read from the local library can help beat reading regression. Many schools make a summer reading list available online for parents to access. Local librarians can be a great resource to children by helping them to select books at the appropriate reading level. By reading as few as six books over the summer, children who struggle with reading can retain their reading skills and even gain new ones. If you’re taking a vacation, encourage your child to read the brochures; if you get the newspaper delivered, encourage him to read the comics. Provide opportunities to read to your child, for your child to read to you, and for your child to read to himself each day.

Engaging rather than entertaining. While it can be tempting to allow your child to play his favorite video games or watch hours of television, opt to engage, rather than entertain your early learner. Baking cookies together or engaging in imaginative play, like playing school or restaurant, provide opportunities to reinforce science, reading, and math skills. Carve out time to engage in active play with your child each day to help foster school success.

Playing family games. From the youngest children to the oldest, games can provide an opportunity for learning. Games like “I Spy” can reinforce color, letter, shape, and number recognition in early learners. Games like Monopoly can reinforce money counting and making change in older learners. Even games like Memory can help children exercise their brains. Set aside 20 minutes each day to play a learning game with your child.

Capitalizing on teachable moments. Whether you are taking a day trip to the zoo or heading to the local park to play outside, consider opportunities for learning and skill reinforcement. Reading signs, learning about nature and incorporating math into outside play help keep your child’s skills sharp while having fun. After you’ve taken a fun adventure, putting together a scrapbook or having your child write about his experience provide opportunities for continued learning and fun. Where ever your day brings you, look for natural learning moments.

Considering summer educational programming. From summer school to community enrichment opportunities, camps to private tutoring, there are all sorts of summer educational programming available for children. While cost can be a determining factor in whether or not your child attends a formal summer program, there are many low and no cost summer learning programs available. Many local libraries offer summer enrichment programs including activities like story hour or math and science themed children’s workshops, and many community centers offer programming as well.

While the summer months offer a break from formalized learning, it doesn’t mean learning should stop on the last day of school. When parents and caregivers provide opportunities for learning during the summer months they are setting their child up for school year success.

Contacts and sources:
Molly Cunningham
http://www.liveinnanny.com/blog/5-ways-to-boost-summer-learning/

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