Children will soon be heading back to school. Summer learning loss can affect how they start the year.
Summer is often seen as carefree, idle time, but teachers say students should still be learning. The National Summer Learning Association says that over the summer months students experience learning loss if they're not doing some educational activities. Research shows that if kids take the same standardized test at the beginning and the end of summer, those scores from May and June will be higher.
The key to learning in the summer is finding what kids are passionate about. Buying kids a book or finding a class or activity they love can keep their minds fresh.
At UNO’s Aim For The Stars Camp, teachers use games to get children back into math and science. Students are taught different card tricks and the math behind them. But if kids aren't learning, the beginning of the school year can be difficult.
“I know that the first week or two of school is frustrating for me because it seems like we're just pulling teeth to get kids to actually be involved in their own learning,” says Papillion-La Vista South High School teacher Peter Goecke.
Here are six strategies parents can still do:
1) Go on a trip. Teachers say having a new experience is the best way kids learn. They see new things and the experience lasts a lifetime.
2) Listen to audiobooks on car rides. It gives children and parents something to do together.
3) Read together. Find a book that you can read at night and then discuss.
4) Play board games or games of strategy like chess, checkers, card games and board games. These are all fun ways to keep the brain sharp.
5) Set a timer for the television, cell phone and computer so they're not wasting whole days being idle in the house.
6) Strike a deal. If your kids are on the computer they have to spend time on sites where they're learning something or practicing reading and math skills.
Teachers say if these types of activities happen, children will be more than ready for the school year. "If they have something to do over the summer, if they have experiences, if they read or they've done some learning over the summer, we notice that right away we can start to get into the fun stuff that school really should be," says Goecke.
Papillion-La Vista South High School went a step further. It has required summer reading for the whole school and students will have a test in the first week to see if they've done the reading.