School’s out for summer! We all know what that means, time for kids to have fun, go to camp, and hopefully, not become brain-dead zombies. Teachers will tell you, though, that a lot of students come back to school in the fall, having forgotten much of what they learned during the last school year. So is there a way to prevent the backsliding?
“The best thing that a parent can do is make sure that there is constant stimulation of the mind, body, and spirit for students over the summer,” said Dan Gohl, chief academic officer of Broward Public Schools. “That’s what school does, in a structured environment, give students something to have to respond to and learn.”
Broward and Miami-Dade Schools have a variety of ways to keep kids academically engaged over the summer months.
Broward County partnered with the school district to create summer learning programs at all the county libraries. The details can be found at www.browardschools.com, but the simple idea is to encourage parents to emphasize reading. The school district is also promoting the fact that all students have access to on-line enrichment tools such as Khan Academy, i-Ready, and Naviance.
Miami-Dade Schools just opened up its E-Learning Toolbox for all grade levels. Students can access it through the student portals, and it’s designed to keep kids academically engaged all summer. Go to www.dadeschools.net for more summer learning opportunities.
Gohl says parents should focus on providing constant reminders of learning so young brains don’t completely shut out academics during the summer months.
“That is books in the home, that is experiences in the community, and that is conversation every day,” Gohl said.
Just about every school, at every grade level, has summer reading requirements. That’s a start, but to get kids to go further, some offer prizes for doing the most work on computer programs like i-Ready.
So there’s your pro tip, parents. Incentivize summer learning! Maybe offering rewards for reading books or completing a research project or writing an essay can work for your family. Before you know it, the kids will be back in school, and they need to be game-ready.