Combat Summer Learning Loss – Use Stealth to Help Kids Retain Knowledge

By Teresa Latchford –

Suggesting your child open a text-book during summer vacation might make you the subject of hysterical laughter. But many parents share concern about summer learning loss, especially after 39 studies revealed students’ summer learning loss is equal to at least one month of instruction. “This work also showed that summer learning loss is more pronounced for mathematics-related subjects than for reading or language arts, most likely because many students continue reading over the summer, but few of them practice their math skills,” certified teacher, tutor and author Stuart Ackerman said.

While students tend to forget about school once the final bell rings, parents can use stealth to help their children retain reading, writing and math skills without breaking open a text-book throughout the summer, he added.

Mr Ackerman encourages parents to recognize and use their child’s interests, for example, video games, to their advantage. Consider purchasing a video game guide, a book that’s usually several hundred pages long and contains text about game strategy, to improve reading and writing skills. “Get your child to read the entire game guide and have him or her write down a plan on winning the game based on what was read,” he said.

Use the newspaper that’s already delivered to your door to work on reading comprehension. Start off with a section in which your child is interested, such as sports or entertainment, and have your child read it aloud. After that, discuss the article to help your child draw conclusions from it.

Keep maps and a globe around the house so your child can make connections between world events in the newspaper, online or on TV and their locations. “I purchased placemats of the world for my kids,” Mr. Ackerman said. “At dinner time, my children often read their placemat maps and have a good understanding of world geography.”

Forget the math worksheets; use everyday activities to help your child explore math. Have your child calculate the discounts offered the next time you receive coupons in the mail. For example, a stick of butter may cost $1.75, but the coupon is two sticks on sale for $3. Have your child figure out how much you would save.

Try turning to the sports section in the paper for decimals and geometry. Baseball is a great tool during summer to start the sport and math connection, he added. Your child can practice division skills by figuring out winning percentages and you can use all the geometric shapes on a baseball field to teach younger children.

For a hands-on experience, get your children in the kitchen. Baking is not only a great family activity, but the use of measuring cups and spoons will help children work with fractions. Have your children explore with measuring cups when following a recipe, such as two half cups fit into the one cup measuring cup, Mr. Ackerman said.

To incorporate some math-based learning into family time, consider using a traditional board game such as Monopoly.

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