Summertime learning brings a lifetime of benefits

What's the most critical time of the year for American students? If you guessed back-to-school season or final exams week, you'd be wrong. Believe it or not, summer vacation has an enormous impact on everything from mathematics to reading development for young learners.

Just a couple months can result in significant learning losses for students. Researchers have found the test results are dramatically lower immediately following summer break. There's a lot parents and caring adults can do to ensure summer vacation doesn't bring an education slump. Here are five easy ways you can help prevent the "summer slide."

1. Look for books that correspond to your child's interests. Choosing the right reading material is also a crucial part of getting kids to read during the summer. And familiarize yourself with what your kids will be learning in the fall and make a point of discussing those topics throughout the summer. Whether it's long division or American history, offering students a preview of the coming school year will ensure they're prepared.

2. Incorporate reading into your child's summertime routine. As any parent can tell you, summer is often the most difficult time of year to find constructive projects for kids. On a hot summer day, try stopping by the local library to see what programs and activities are available.

3. Find new ways of making learning fun. Technology can play a big part in making learning fun. E-readers, tablets, and smart phones allow young learners to enjoy digital books. Also, be on the lookout for opportunities to introduce math into your child's everyday life. This can be as simple as measuring household items, teaching how to tell time, noting the temperature every day, or adding up prices at the supermarket.

4. Tap into local resources to enhance your child's reading opportunities. Check with local schools, community centers, and universities to find summer learning programs. When planning a vacation, try to visit Historic sites, museums, national parks, and zoos all provide young learners with chances to enrich themselves in fun ways. 5. Finally, consider volunteering to help students outside your immediate family fall in love with reading.

Many parents are well aware of the value of continued summer education, but they just don't have the time or resources to provide one for their own kids. Helping them out can make a profound difference. The "summer slide" can have a devastating effect on student achievement. Taking steps to ensure that your child is intellectually stimulated all year round can bring benefits that will last a lifetime.
Hola Arkansas Staff

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