School is out for the summer in some communities, and for many area children, that means weeks of sleeping in late, trips to the swimming pool or hours spent in front of the TV or a computer.
These months of inactivity – away from the daily grind of school – are something that young people look forward to, but it can have a detrimental effect on the knowledge they have stored away.
Studies have shown that, on average, children lose 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during the summer months. Lower-income children experience an even greater level of learning loss than their higher-income peers, who are often enrolled in summer programs.
And when school resumes in the fall, teachers often have to spend four to six weeks reteaching children material that they have forgotten over the summer.
What can be done?
Experts recommend that parents and grandparents make sure the summer months are a time of continued learning.
For instance, they suggest that lunch time is a good time to enhance a child’s oral skills, simply through conversation. A trip to the grocery store can be an opportunity to sharpen a child’s math skills by having him or her add up the cost of food items. And there is no better way to prevent learning loss than by having a child read every day.
Fortunately, there are many programs that can assist parents. The best place to start is at your local library. Most libraries have summer reading programs that are filled with fun activities.
A strong musical education also enhances learning. Check out summer music camps in your community.
We think that children should have fun during the summer break, but it should not be a vacation from learning. We urge parents to take advantage of the many educational opportunities available for their children during the coming weeks.
The Times-Reporter (New Philadelphia, Ohio)