School is out! (Or very soon will be for most areas of the country.) There’s an expectation of unbridled freedom in every kid’s smile at this time of year. Summers are cherished as a time to run wild, live in a swimsuit, eat at odd hours, and stay up way past bedtime. We love letting our kids have that experience, but at the same time there’s a little parenting voice that asks, “Am I supposed to be doing something?”
Here’s the skinny: Studies have shown that during an extended summer vacation, kids can lose an average of 2.6 months worth of knowledge. (Check out the Reading is Fundamental website for more.) There are apparently many factors that affect learning loss—grade level, subject matter (mathematical computation is particularly at risk), and family income, to name a few.
This is where the whole argument for YRE (Year Round Education) comes into play. I’m not going to go into the analysis behind that whole thought process, but there is one thing for certain: educational exercises during the summer, even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day, along with good reading habits, can drastically improve academic performance.
At the store we have a go-to solution for parents who are interested in keeping those skills sharp when school is out of session. They’re called the Summer Bridge Activity Books, and the best part about them is that (from the parenting perspective at least) they’re easy. The whole idea is to “bridge” the gap between grade levels, reviewing what kids recently learned and giving them a preview of what’s up next. Books for grade Pre-K through fifth are available, and they come with colorful pages, flashcards, interesting activities, and a program that integrates fitness and character development. Kids are asked to complete one page a day and then set aside some time for independent reading. Very simple, like I said.
I’ve got one more stat for you today—only 10% of students engage in any kind of “formal” learning during the summer vacation. Learning can, and should, be fun. That’s what we’re all about at Learning Express. So whether you choose an activity book like Summer Bridge, an educational game, or just reading together as a family, it’ll be time well spent.
Have a wonderful, wonderful summer!