Summer Fun - School Work_Top_2

Summer is upon us once again, and for the majority of students this means time away from school. Unfortunately, it is well-documented that students at every level experience about three months of learning losses in both math and reading when not engaged in educational activities during the summer. I am here to tell you that although summer might constitute a break from school, it doesn’t have to be a break from learning. In fact, summer is the ideal time for students to not only close existing learning gaps, but to strengthen their academic skills for the upcoming school year. Simply setting aside at least one half an hour every day can thwart this so-called “summer slide”….and all while leaving plenty of time for summer fun!

As the parent, you are in the best position to understand what gaps are present in your child’s learning, and as you begin to plan for your child’s days without a school schedule, please remember that your interest and participation are crucial in making a real difference in these areas. Begin by pinpointing those subjects your child had the most trouble learning this previous school year, and make sure to dedicate some time for practice in these areas. If your goal is advancement, ask your child’s teacher what they will be learning in the next grade, and ask for ideas on how you can begin building those skills throughout the summer. There are so many easy and fun activities you can do with your child to help them preserve their current skills, but also to grow during the summer months. The following are some easy, yet specific tips I would like to share in these two crucial content areas.

Reading

During these precious summer months, students finally have ample time to read for mere enjoyment. As such, one of your summer activities should include a family trip to the public library to check out books of interest. For struggling readers, I recommend reading with your child everyday – even taking turns – and especially assist them with sounding out those challenging words. You can also help your child better understand what they are reading through targeted questioning and discussion, but since vocabulary is critical in this endeavor, be sure to keep a dictionary close by for those new vocabulary words you are bound to meet along the way. I strongly encourage you to use every resource available to you, which includes anything from educational websites to simply participating in your library’s summer reading program. And just to add to the summer fun, on family game night make sure to deliberately include games like Scrabble, Upwords, Taboo, or crossword puzzles to aid in strengthening everyone’s spelling and vocabulary skills.

Mathematics

Though it may not seem fun to them at the time, working on just three math problems per day over the summer can prevent students’ math skills from deteriorating. Math workbooks for every grade level are available for purchase at teacher supply stores, bookstores, or online outlets, and when utilized they can close gaps in students’ math skills, preserve their current math skills, or prepare them for next year. Additionally, while grocery shopping, you can always practice simple math skills such as predicting the total bill, calculating taxes, figuring out the best deals based on their unit measurement/weight, or simply counting change. For further practice with measurements, especially fractions, invite your child to bake or cook with you. You are not only teaching them the cooking skills they will need in life – but math – as your child learns how to measure and convert weights, volumes, and numbers. By simply modifying a recipe you can create a whole world of valuable math! For older students, the newspaper offers a wealth of ways (no pun intended) to talk about money, including stocks, bonds, and calculating returns on investments. Geometric concepts such as angles and shapes can be introduced by building something as simple as a bird house, together. Again, don’t underestimate fun and games in learning potential. There are many popular board games, such as Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, Clue, Boggle, and Chess, that reinforce math skills and critical thinking skills through making predictions, seeing and recognizing patterns, and by using strategy and logic.

In closing, summer learning can be fun and challenging at the same time. Thankfully there are many easy and fun everyday activities you can do with your child to help them maintain their skills and grow during the summer months. Whether it is going to a specific summer camp, or on family field trips to museums, they open up all kinds of opportunities and activities related to learning about math, science, geography, history, social studies, and more. However, I would like to provide you with some fun, useful, and free online resources below, and please share them with other families so that summer is a time of mutual learning and growth!

http://www.coolmath.com/

http://www.helpingwithmath.com/

http://www.arcademics.com/games/

http://playkidsgames.com

http://www.gavirtuallearning.org/resources/ccgpsanalyticgeometry.aspx www.khanacademy.org

http://www.sowashco.org/ro/pages/studentlinks/map/

Happy Learning!!!!

Catie

Catie Wills is a teacher in the Georgia public school system and volunteers with the Hatch’s House of Hope tutoring program. Catie’s area of expertise is mathematics and will be offering tutoring during the summer break.

Contact Hatch’s House of Hope at 423.243.3471 for summer tutoring hours and to reserve your spot.

Summer Fun - School Work_Bottom_2