All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. Incredibly, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Furthermore, children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break.
A teacher once told me that the brain works very much like a sponge. When a sponge is dry, it does not soak up a spill very quickly; however, when it is damp, the spill is wiped up in no time. Children’s brains are kept damp throughout the school year as school work and homework assignments are completed. However in order for the brain to be ready to take on the next school year, a little bit of “brain gymnastics” over the summer is necessary!
Parents do not need to spend a lot of money on summer camps or tutoring to moisten the sponge. There are simple activities children can do over the summer to prevent the “summer slide.” One simple activity to maintain reading skills is to READ, READ, READ. If they don’t like books, give them a magazine that interests them. Public library summer reading programs are another solution. To maintain Math skills, parents can make flashcards and have their children practice with them every few days. Additionally, most kids these days love their electronics. There are a variety of free apps for iPads for children to work on Math and Reading Skills. For those who like the traditional pencil and paper activities, parents can purchase grade-level workbooks and have their children do a few pages each day. These workbooks cover all subjects and most cost less than ten dollars. Whatever activity you choose to do, keep it simple and fun so your child’s brain isn’t dry for the start of next school year!