The Summertime Snooze

School is out and summer is here!  I know the last thing you want to think about is anything academic right now, but I just can’t leave you for the summer without telling you how important it is for your student to engage in some sort of intellectual stimulation this summer. It really is a disservice to have your child go 3 months without any educational stimulation; it is a disservice that allows the summertime snooze to take over and cloud your student’s brain.

Research has shown that students can lose up to 2.6 months of  learning during the summer.  The National Summer Learning Association has also found the following:

  • Summer learning loss for students is greater in math than reading.
  • Summer learning loss is greatest in math “computation” and spelling.
  • For disadvantaged students, the summer months significantly widen the achievement gap between the wealthy and the poor.

I don’t want your student to become part of these statistics, so I am sharing with you some of my favorite summer secrets to staving off the “snooze”.  My suggestions run the spectrum from a minimal cost investment to a more costly one, and from a minimal time expenditure to a more substantial time investment.

Minimal Cost & Minimal Time:

1)      Flash cards with math facts.  Great way for 2nd-6th graders to stay brushed up on the fundamentals.

2)      Go to your local teaching supply store or book store and purchase some math and reading workbooks.  Workbooks can range from $6-$20 per book and can be found for all age groups.  One of my favorite workbook series is the Spectrum Series—they have every subject covered!

3)      For 9th-12th graders, buy PSAT or SAT workbooks and do practice sections and vocab words.  Learn roots, pre-fixes and suffixes; these will help in English class and on standardized exams.

4)      Have your student write a journal about his/her summer adventures and travels.  Better yet, have him/her write a blog!  There are many blog sites out there and one that I like is

5)      Build a lemonade stand with your young one and sell lemonade.  This is a great way to teach your child about money, computing change, profit, and cost.

6)      “Thinking” board games.  Rummikub is a fav of mine!  Scrabble and Sudoku for kids are also great summer brain activities.

Higher Cost & Greater Time Investment:

1)      Buy an E-reader.  Not necessarily an iP__ (you know what brand I mean here), because with that comes an Internet connection and that equals distractions galore.  There are other E-readers out there that only have books on them—no Internet.  Pre-teens and teens love reading electronically, so get with the times and join the E-reading fun!

2)      Take a class.  Whether it is a summer school class, a cooking class, a computer class, or test prep class, summer classes engage your student’s brain.  We, at Generation Think, have had a huge hit with our summer math boot camp classes and test prep classes.  During the summer, students can focus energy solely on these learning endeavors without regular homework and school stresses creeping in.  Students who take these summer classes always end up ahead of those who don’t come the start of school.

3)      Form a summer book club.  Although this is not a high cost summer option, it is a high time investment one.  Gather your child’s friends together, a group no larger than 6,  and select 2 books to read over a month long period.  Then have a book club party/meeting to discuss the book and engage in a few “thinking” activities.  Have kids write a book review, answer pre-printed questions about the book, or have them do character development activities.  Many books, either online or at the back of the book, include great topics for book club discussions. Parent involvement is key here because you need someone to facilitate the discussions.  With a few dedicated parents, a group of friends, and a great book or two, you can make reading a fun and social activity this summer!

Just remember that summertime can still be full of beach days, lemonade stands, and family trips.  Just as long as those beach visits include marine biology discussions, that lemonade stand includes a review of percentages and profits, and that family trip includes a blog about an historical analysis of the local landscape and culture.  I say this slightly tongue in cheek, but mostly with seriousness. In this competitive world, you simply cannot afford to have your child take the entire summer off anymore.

- By Kelly Trotter King


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