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Stop Summer Loss: Don't let your kids' "smarts" slip!


The average student loses at least a month's worth of learning over the summer, studies show. How much kids forget varies by subject and social class. Reading comprehension falls steeply for low-income students, but only slightly for wealthier kids. Why? Maybe because in well-off homes, there's more reading. And wealthier kids often go to educational programs that build language skills. Amazingly, most of the achievement gap between low-income and more affluent kids can be accounted for by this difference in summer loss.

How to combat this seasonal brain slump? For starters, KNEA teachers offer these tips.

  • Prepare for fall. Find out what your child will be learning next year by talking with teachers at that grade level. Preview concepts and materials over the summer.
  • Practice math daily. Have your children measure items around the house or track daily temperatures. Add and subtract at the store. Cooking is a chance to learn fractions.
  • Get out and play. Limit TV and video game time, just as you do during the school year. Physical activity contributes to healthy development.
  • Do good deeds. Students learn better and "act out" less when they engage in community service.

A few more ideas for you and your kids:

  • Don’t forget to read! Check out the KNEA Reading Circle Catalog, a list teacher recommended books for all ages.
  • Some teachers assign summer reading. Take your kids to the library. Get them used to the place before the summer break. Librarians have been running summer programs since the 1800s. There's always something going on.
  • Summer is the time to learn just because it's fun to learn. Learn a craft, create a photo journal, and draw sketches of insects, read comic books! Allow your brain to stretch and enjoy! That applies to both teachers and students.
  • Puzzle books, word searches, and Sudoku are great activities for car trips. Puzzles and board games are also fun ways to keep the brain sharp over the summer.
  • Have your kids record their summer experiences through a journal, photo collections, [or] interviews with friends and family members. Next fall in class, there could be some sort of performance in which they show rather than tell what they learned or thought about. They can write a rap song or a play about one hot day.
  • Set up a blog that involves interaction and reaction from the students. It could be a series of math or logic problems or reviews of summer movies, books, or television. It could be competitive and involve teams of friends or from different schools."

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