SCHOOL BEAT

How to Help Prevent Summer Regression

by KIRSTEN MYERS
Executive Director of Special Services
Rockford Public Schools

While summer vacation is a highlight for any child and family, it is also a time when students forget a good deal of what they learned the previous school year. As a result, the first several weeks of each new school year is spent on assessing where students are in relationship to where they should be coming into the next grade level. This can be challenging to both parents and teachers alike as many weeks are spent reviewing and recouping literacy and numeracy skills lost over the summer vacation.

Helping your child to retain what they learned last year doesn’t mean a summer vacation full of hours spent crying over worksheets, tutoring or taking classes. There are several ways, noted below, in which parents can help prevent their child from losing information that they learned during the previous grade. It is as simple as spending 20 to 30 minutes per day on a few mathematical equations coupled with time spent reading high interest books.

Tablets or Computers—An easy and motivating way to retain skills is to have your child play educational games on a tablet or computer. The Educational Freeware website, www.educational-freeware.com, provides users with reviews of the best free learning games, software and websites. Additionally, Kahn Academy, offers over 3,200 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics and offers hundreds of skills to practice. With Kahn Academy, students can review previous skills and prepare for the next school year while working at their own pace.

Free Worksheets—There are several numeracy and literacy websites online that offer free printable worksheets. You can find specific skill worksheets by typing your child’s grade followed by the term “free math/literacy worksheets” into your search bar, and you will have a plethora of worksheets to choose from. Simply print the worksheets and allocate a small amount of time each day to work on them.

Workbooks—One of the easiest ways to help a child retain the information they learned last year is to purchase a skills workbook at your local bookstore. Educational workbooks are easy to find as they are nearly always labeled by grade level.

The Library—Reading is critical for students as it is the gateway to all learning. To help your child retain their reading skills over the summer, visit your local library and choose books that are of high interest to your child. Additionally, most city libraries have a Summer Reading Program where children fill out forms to show how much they’ve read which may make them eligible to win small prizes from the library.

Parents, teachers and students can agree that when regression occurs, it makes moving forward in their academic subjects that much more challenging when the new school year starts. With a little family time and dedication, you can help your child retain the material they learned last year in preparation for the 2012/2013 school year.

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