Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Brain Drain

"Two-thirds of the achievement gap occurs during the summers, not during the school year." ~~Richard Allington, an education professor at the University of Texas

Summer brain drain is highly preventable.  It doesn't have to take a lot of money or energy.  It takes a little time and effort; but it's summer, we've got all the time in the world!

Experts say that 15 minutes of reading per day over the summer does a lot to prevent summer brain drain.  There are some days when 15 minutes is too much time.  There are other days when 4 hours isn't enough time.  If a child can average 2 hours of reading a week, they can head back to school in the fall not too much dumber than they left it.

Getting your kids to practice their math skills over the summer doesn't have to give you a headache.  Play a few board games.  Monopoly, Yahtzee, and even Chutes and Ladders require some basic math.  If they use a recipe to make something, they need to know a little something about measurements.  At least they do if they want it to be edible.  You also need to read the recipe.  SCORE!  You get cookies and your kids took in some math and reading.

My kids read.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree over here, so it isn't any effort to get them to crack open a book.  Pretty much all other subjects need a little conscious effort on my part.  Having them do a little research on places they'd like to travel is a good way to introduce some geography, map reading, and distance calculating.  If you really want to throw some math at them, have them figure out how much a vacation costs and how long it will take them to raise enough allowance money to afford the trip.  Ah ha!  The kids get some math, and a reality check on finances. Win-win!

Take the kids out on a walk through the woods.  Bring along a bird guide, tree guide, flower guide, insect guide, footprint guide, or whatever else you can get your hands on.  We've got many of those things here at the library.  You can explore the world around you, and your kids might learn something.

Our summer reading program doesn't start until July 9th this year.  We decided to start later than usual because there seems to be so much available for kids to do right away after school lets out for the year.  Once July hits, things kind of slow down a little.  You get into August, and there are days when you just want to stay in air-conditioned comfort all day.  A good book and a cold drink are all you need to make that a perfect hot summer day.

It's summer.  Step away from the screens, and have some real-life fun.  You just might learn something in the process.  

 "The vast majority of us imagine ourselves as like literature people or math people. But the truth is that the massive processor known as the human brain is neither a literature organ or a math organ. It is both and more."
— John Green