Tag Archives: summer learning loss

Sunday Morning Shout Out

It’s that point of summer.  When we are down to the last week(s), I get the compelling need to make the most of the time left.  It’s a need to fulfill the summer bucket list, but also to make sure we have taken enough time this summer to work on sustaining academic skills.  In taking stock, I believe we need to amp up our efforts with math.  I feel that the girls have done well with digging into some good summer books. I feel that our son has mostly been read to in ample fashion.  Math- we could be a better friend to and partake in more activities.

In turning my focus to math, I have Googled different math sites for some summer assistance.  One site that I am liking is kidsnumbers.com.  It is broken down by age and such skills that run from addition and telling time to doing algebra and geometry.  My girls will clock, (but not too many hours to get in the way of summertime fun) some time at this site to brush up on skills before school starts.  At this site, there are lessons, explanations, and instructional videos. It is made by graduates from Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley.  You can create an account to keep track of your progress.  Did I mention it is totally free?  Now I know I sound like a paid spokeswoman, but honestly this seems like a great product that your children will enjoy and that will give you peace of mind.  It’s a good way to remind kids that math is fun, just like summer.  It is reassurance that come time for school, your children will not be left in the dust.

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Sunday Morning Shout Out

summerslideStatThis summer, will you swim like a fish?  Will you travel like an adventurer?  Will you camp like a scout?  Perhaps yes.  But, will you read like a worm?  For struggling readers or hesitant readers, this break from school can contribute to summer slide.  Summer slide refers to the academic losses that commonly occur when students are out of school during the break.  When this occurs, the first few months of each school year need to be spent catching up with skills that have been lost.  For an already struggling student, this simply might not be enough.  Fortunately, there are things that parents and care givers can do to help overcome it.

The article “Avoiding Summer Slide (Great Tips and Idea)“, by teacher Kathleen Wainwright has some great ideas on how not to go down that slippery summer slide.  From designating reading time each day and making sure your library card is well-oiled and ready to use, to reading together, incentivizing reading, and packing books along for long lines, car rides, appointments, etc, there are many ways to keep reading going strong.  Perhaps one of her best tips is just to turn the television off (I will add all electronics) and have specific quiet time at night, when everyone in the entire house reads.  It could be newspapers, cookbooks, magazines, or novels. Lead and read by example!

Summer is short and it own type of fast paced.  The stakes are too high to let reading become one of those things not in your summer plans.  Like an old carnival attraction, the fall from the slide is too high and dramatic.  It’s downright treacherous!

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Sunday Morning Shout Out

math_lets_talkThe term summer slide is probably very familiar to many of you by now. But the question is, what are you doing about it?  While summer reading programs that are offered by libraries and schools are pretty common place and an excellent way to buffer reading loss, what are you doing to address the loss of math schools in your child?  In the article, “Math’s steep slide: how far behind is your child,” author Crystal Yednak shares researcher statistics that found the average child loses 1.8 months of math skills during summertime.  How can this be and what is being done to remedy this serious academic issue?

First, let’s look at why there is such a steep slide, in terms of math skills during the summer.  Yednak discusses how reading is much more naturally woven into a child’s day, as opposed to math skills. Children are often read to at night or may willingly-eagerly read a book of their choosing throughout the day.  Reading is a fine, easy, and relaxed way to pass a rainy summer’s day or cozy, summer’s night! On that same rainy day, do most children run for their flashcards? –Not so much.  Practicing math tends to be a much more focused and rigorous activity. Younger children do not get the “practice time” that we have as adults, when it comes to mathematics.  On a daily basis, writing checks, paying bills, comparison shopping, cooking, etc. actively immerse adults in numbers and math.  Children do not get this or have this regularly.  The problem is even more pronounced for Middle and High School students since the math they are learning is generally not used in every day life…when is the last time you used a graphing calculator to figure out a Quadratic Equation for the parabolic path of an astoroid entering our solar system?

This slide is further exacerbated by the Common Core Standards as they are being instituted into you child’s school.  The author discusses how this new curriculum assumes not only higher skills but also mastery right from the start of the school year.  You have teachers who are being asked to go forward and not backwards to review last year’s skills.  As a teacher, there is increased pressure to get through all the curriculum.  Thus, the math work at school may be far beyond your child’s normal capacity even from where they left off at the end of the previous school year.  Place deteriorating skills on top of this situation and you have a child who is very far behind academic expectation and in many cases their peers who may have been working on their math skills throughout the summer.

Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to ameliorate the situation.  Ideally, before school ends, sit down with your child’s teacher. Find out where they are struggling most mathematically and discuss ways to address this over the summer.  The teacher may have specific math sheets, a website, or an old book your child can use to practice her rusty areas.  If your child’s teacher is unavailable during the summer, there are websites for parents to determine their child’s strengths and weaknesses in math.  There are also websites that discuss how these fit in with the common core standards.  Your child can review what they learned in the last grade and also do “preview work” in math for the grade to come. Some of these website s are listed in the embedded article.

Educators are taking increased steps to tackle this issue.  Controversial for some, many schools are offering longer school years or even all year round school, with more shorter breaks built into the academic year.  The thought is to not allow space –time for a slide.  Still others are encouraging parents to work with tutors or send their children to math camps, to avoid this “slip and slide.”  Other educators are hoping libraries will implement summer math programs, alongside their reading programs to address this need.  While still other educators also point to specific websites like “Calculation Nation” for parents to use with their children.  Such websites combine math problems with games.  Lastly, parents are asked to look at where they can sprinkle math into the day.  Perhaps Johnny or Janey can county their piggy bank change or money earned from a lemonade stand.  Cooking is a fun way to work on both math and reading skills. Rest assured parents that such large learning loss does not have to be the case.  It just takes a little forethought to combat and come out on the right side of this issue and forgo the slide…..

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What To Do About Bad Grades

bad-grades-21It’s that time of the year again when some families have to deal with the reality of bad grades. Poor academic performance can put strain on your family. Your student may experience a drop in self-esteem and confidence which will only compound the problem. We believe that every student can learn, but each student learns differently. You have to find the learning style that suits your student’s ability and then provide them with the tools they need to succeed in academics.

Start At The Beginning
Speak with your child and their teachers to ascertain the root of the problem. Perhaps social or behavioral issues are influencing academics, or perhaps your child is missing some important building blocks in their knowledge.

Teachers have full classes and very little time, so they assume that students have the foundations from previous grades that they will add onto. If your child has some gaps in their knowledge base, they will fall further behind each year.

Study Skills
Each child has a learning style and, while most teachers try to present information in a number of different ways, they may not be speaking the academic language your child understands. There are many tests available online which will help you to find out what kind of a learner your child is. Then you can help them to convert information into a format that is easy for them to understand.

Some students need to learn organizational and study skills. While most teachers do impart these skills in the lower grades, if your child doesn’t know how to organize their time, how to study effectively, how to write a good essay or how to summarize texts, their marks will not be a true reflection of their abilities.

Language Skills
If your child does not excel in language arts, they may be underperforming on all their test. The ability to read and comprehend texts in a timely manner and then communicate effectively through writing are essential skills for students to succeed. Encouraging reading and working on writing skills may improve your child’s overall academic performance.

Consider A Tutor
Tutors are a great way to get your child the help they need. Tutors can test your child to see what their learning style is. They can go back and find what building blocks are missing in your child’s knowledge and help them to understand the fundamentals.

Tutors should liaise with teachers to find the best solutions for your student. Working one-on-one with a tutor will avoid all the embarrassment or anxiety they feel in a classroom environment and their self-confidence will improve too.

Tutors can teach students the study and organizational skills they need to be great independent learners.

The summer school break presents a unique opportunity to give your child a jump start on the new academic year. Summer tutoring need not take up much of their time, but it will help them to catch up and build confidence to face a new academic year without the anxiety that they usually associate with academics and the start of a new school year.

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 6/26/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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Monday “Think About It”

Summer is fun! Summer learning loss? Not so much. (Image Credit: http://whatscookintoday.blogspot.com/2011/05/524-summer-vacation-baby-boomers-health.html)

Summer is fun! Summer learning loss? Not so much. (Image Credit: http://whatscookintoday.blogspot.com/2011/05/524-summer-vacation-baby-boomers-health.html)

With the continued advancement in learning requirements for your child can you risk any type of ‘summer slide‘ for your child?

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Sunday Morning Shout Out

summerslideStatIdeally, summer is a time of fun, new experiences, lots of outdoor time, swimming, perhaps camp, a vacation, recreation programs, summer sports, and a more laid back routine.  However, do you know it also produces something often referred to as summer slide?  This term is used to identify the academic losses that occur for all children during the summer months, if they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.  In fact, it has been found that students lose about two months of grade level math skills during summer months and that low-income students lose more than two months in reading skills during this time as described by the National Summer Learning Association in their article titled ‘Know the Facts‘.  It can also refer to the quality of life type losses that occur for many economically disadvantaged students, in terms of nutrition, appropriate adult supervision, and meaningful personal and social activities. Such factors contribute to the achievement gap between low and higher income youth and make a difference in high school completion, college entrance and career options.

Now is the time to ask yourself what you can do to prevent summer slide.  During this past week, it was announced in the Buffalo News that the “Say Yes Program” will contribute $1.2 million to Buffalo Public School so that the district can offer summer school to all elementary students this year.  It will run from July 8 to August 1, with transportation and meals provided.  For the first time, students will also be offered summer enrichment activities, from community organizations, alongside regular academic work.  Remedial summer school will also be available for students in seventh through twelfth grade, with transportation to be provided.  Additionally, there is the possibility of a full day summer school program for students who need to retake more than two subjects.

More information is slated to come home to Buffalo School parents in the coming weeks.  If you are outside the Buffalo School district, you might want to ask yourself if your school district is offering summer programming.  If such programming is not available in your district, what about your local library?  All libraries seem to offer summer reading incentive programs, alongside extra summer activities to entice young people to read; be enriched; and have fun.  What might you do at home?  Scholastics.com offers some great and easy tips to keep your children’s brains powered up in their article titled ‘Seven Ways To Stop Summer Slide‘. National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Mindshift” project also offers a bevy of ideas to curtail summer slide.  Plan now and help your child soar through summer, rather than slide.


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Encouraging The Reluctant Reader

If your child is reticent to read, there are ways to make reading a fun and rewarding experience that can introduce them to a wonderful new world.  Reading carries so many benefits that make it a skill that every child should hone.  When your child is an effective reader, all those high school and college texts won’t pose a problem and they will be able to spend less time studying.  Any book they read will add something to their knowledge base, and improve vocabulary and communication skills as well as reading comprehension.

Read To Me!
Reading to your children is one of the best ways to instill in them a love of literature.  Reading every day for bedtime or story time when they are younger is a great start.  Read campfire stories when you go on vacation, read scary stories by candlelight and listen to books on tape when you take road trips.

You can let them do the reading when they get older.  Ask them to read the news to you, read recipes when you are cooking together and instructions when you are building new things or playing board games.

Read What’s Right For You
Many children associate reading with schoolwork and don’t want to spend their free time on academic tasks.  You can overcome this perception by finding other forms of literature that they will enjoy.  Don’t be opposed to buying comics, anime, manga or magazines that they are interested in.  Always ensure that the books are age-appropriate.

Get an electronic reader or a tablet for technically-minded students and get them to read blogs and books that they like online.  Select books that mirror your child’s interests.  For example, if you have a child who is soccer-crazy, get them literature on the World Cup and on their favorite soccer players.

Reward Good Reading
Make charts or graphs which track the number of books your children read.  You can offer rewards for goals reached so that they are motivated to continue reading. The library can be a fascinating place and when students get to select their own books, they may be more likely to read them.  Make your library a regular destination, especially over the summer vacation when they offer story times and other free activities that are fun.

Support Your Reader
Talk about the books that your child is reading.  Ask lots of questions and ask them what they think about the characters, the choices they made and how they would have handled a similar situation.  Showing your interest may encourage them to think of books in a more positive light.

If your child is too busy, they won’t read.  Ensure that you make time every week for reading to show that it is just as important as other after-school activities.  You should also lead by example so read books as well and take time to read together in the park, in your garden or even on the living room floor.

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 6/9/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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