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Summer Gives Kids More Ways to Keep Learning

Families can turn summer activities into ways to keep learning. Provided photo.

School’s out, but the learning can keep going all summer.

New York State United Teachers suggest several ways for parents to help their children maintain their academic edge over the next two months.

“Whether they’re out riding bikes or inside making crafts, every activity presents a learning opportunity for children this summer,” NYSUT president Andy Pallotta said in a news release. “Learning is about more than reading a textbook or filling out a worksheet. “… (S)lipping learning experiences into your vacation is a great way to keep your kids’ minds sharp — and have fun as a family.”

Research has shown that some students can lose a month or more of academic progress during summer vacation, with low-income students disproportionately affected. Other studies have shown that summer learning programs can have positive effects on students.

A 2011 study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that one in six children who don’t read proficiently by third grade fail to graduate on time from high school, a rate four times higher than that for proficient readers.

“Even on a rainy summer day, cracking open a mystery novel or performing a kitchen science experiment with your kids are perfect ways to show them that learning doesn’t have to stop when school’s out,” NYSUT executive vice president Jolene DiBrango said in the news release.

Families in the Rochester City School District can find out about summer learning at www.rcsdk12/summerlearning and the Summer School Hotline at (585) 262-8323.

To help avoid the summer slide, NYSUT suggests:

  • enrolling children in summer programs through school districts or community recreation programs.
  • reading as a family. Talk with your child’s teacher or a librarian about developing a summer reading program with your child. Agree on a set number of grade-level appropriate books to read and get the whole family involved. The National Education Association, an affiliate of NYSUT, on how to find the best books for your child. The state Education Department also offers a Summer Reading program through local libraries across New York.
  • having children keep a daily journal. Help him or her stay on track by monitoring his or her efforts.
  • turning daily activities into learning opportunities by making a trip to the store a math lesson or a walk into a science exhibit.
  • exploring parks, museums or landmarks in your own city. The Strong National Museum of Play has $3 admission for residents who receive Supplemental Nutrtion Assistance Program and the Memorial Art Gallery offers free admission for people receiving SNAP. Both offers cover up to four people.