With summer break approaching, many parents and students are thinking of ways to prevent learning loss during the three months when school is not in session. It would be a shame to return to school in the Fall only to discover that much of what was learned during the previous year has not been retained due to lack of practice or reinforcement.
Simple ways for students of any age to get smarter during summer break:
Learning to read proficiently is the backbone of efforts to become well-educated. One way to improve reading skills is to practice. Spending time at the library, checking out books on various subjects is the best way to begin. Set a goal for yourself to read X number of books each week during summer vacation. If your family is planning a trip, obtain literature about the destination and read all about it before visiting. Read the daily newspaper to stay abreast of current events, as opposed to watching television.
* Play games
Play word games like Scrabble, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit and any other board games that encourage reading, writing and retaining information. Go online to a site such as Pogo.com that has a plethora of word games. In addition to word games, play board games such as Chess, Risk and other games that require critical thinking.
Keep a daily journal of your thoughts, goals and activities. Writing is apt to increase vocabulary and improve skillful written communication, which will be helpful for succeeding with written assignments in the next school year. Write letters to relatives and friends who may live at a distance as another way to hone writing skills. Keep a dictionary handy whenever you are writing and use it when necessary.
* Field trips
Take trips to museums, art galleries, science centers and any other local venue that might encourage learning on various subjects. Plan nature hikes, taking a camera along. By the end of summer, you may have an interesting photo album or scrapbook to share with your teachers and classmates when school resumes.
If you are remiss in a particular subject, consider obtaining a tutor during the summer to ensure you will be ahead of the game when school begins again.
If you excel in a subject, consider tutoring younger siblings or neighborhood children who may need additional help. One of the best ways to keep learning fresh is to teach.
Parents might want to help their grade school students by using some of the practical tips outlined above for minimizing learning loss, while high school students can take the initiative to help themselves.
For further information regarding the need to prevent learning loss during summer breaks, read a new initiative launched by First Lady Michele Obama.
In addition, read the research findings published in USA today regarding the effectiveness of providing free books to students in an effort to minimize learning loss.