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July 27, 2010 > Tips to avoid summer learning loss

Tips to avoid summer learning loss

Submitted By Margeaux Esler

Summer vacation is a time of sunshine and fun for K-12 students, but according to the National Center for Summer Learning, studies show that on average, students lose two months of knowledge over school break. To make matters worse, once back in school students may take up to a month and a half to get back up to speed. With many schools forced to cut summer school programs, parent participation is more essential than ever in helping kids achieve academic success in the upcoming school year.

Dr. Susan Canizares, learning expert and Vice President and Publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's K-12 division, recommends the following tips to make learning fun and beat summer brain drain.

-Visit Your Local Library. Set a schedule and visit your local library on a regular basis. A weekly trip to the library encourages students to finish books within a reasonable time period, and gives them lots of opportunities to read about many topics.

-Read Together. Find a book both you and your child enjoy and set a daily reading time. Whether it's before bed or during afternoons at the park, children of every age will enjoy story time if you both are having fun.

-Find Books About Summer Activities. For a child who isn't excited about reading, find books that are about activities you will be doing over the summer to help them connect. Taking a trip to the zoo? Read about the animals prior to your visit to pique their interest.

-Encourage Use of a Journal. Let your child choose a special notebook and encourage them to write about real life or create fiction on a daily basis. Match their effort by writing short stories and poems to get their creative juices flowing.

-Teach Math with Real-Life Situations. Have your children count change at the grocery store, figure out a tip or estimate the tax. Following your family's favorite sports team is also a great way to teach statistics, percentages, and basic math skills.

-Get To Work in the Kitchen. Let your children read aloud their favorite recipes and calculate the measurements, elapsed time, and serving sizes.

-Plant a Garden. Encourage your children to research what grows best in your climate, learn about the plant's growth cycles and watering needs.

-Use Travel Time to Read and Review. Listen to books on CD, practice math facts, play memory games and geography trivia while traveling to your summer destinations.

-Get Crafty. Arts and crafts are a great way to develop fine motor skills and are the perfect indoor activity on a hot day. Pick up watercolors, craft paper, and molding clay, and allow your child time each day to be creative.

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