Learning loss

Avoiding the summer slide

It is hard for me to believe that another school year is coming to an end. As we look ahead to the summer, it’s important for parents and students to think about ways they can continue their learning over the summer break to ensure that we are all prepared for the next school year.

For some students, summer months are long and boring, for others they are packed full of fun vacations. Whichever type of summer you and your family might experience, I would like to pass along some tips on how to help students minimize any academic losses during their time off.

Attend summer school or camp

Many schools and other institutions throughout the city offer summer programs that are both fun and academically challenging. These are opportunities not just to continue their education, but also to learn life and social skills, creative activities, or fun new hobbies. If your child will have a lot of unstructured time at home this summer, consider signing them up for summer school to avoid both boredom and academic losses.

Read. read. read

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for children to read every day. They can read quietly on their own, they can listen to books online, you can read to them or they can read to you. They can read in English, Vietnamese or any language that you prefer. The simple act of reading will help keep students from falling behind. Discussing what they read with parents or friends will put them even further ahead.

Write every day

Writing is an important skill for students to practice every day. Formulating and organizing thoughts and ideas is an ability that must be learned and practiced. Keeping a journal is an ideal way to practice these skills. Journaling could include drawing then labeling pictures, writing letters back and forth with a friend, sibling or parents, telling stories or simply writing about thoughts, feelings and daily activities.

Limit screen time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend less than two hours per day using screen-based media (TV, computers, tablets, phones, etc.) for entertainment. Any time in excess of this has been linked to health problems and difficulties in school. So what can kids do instead? They can read, play with friends, go outside to walk or ride bikes, swim, play sports, cook or bake, make art, sing, learn music, write a story, amongst others. Children can do all of these activities on their own at home, attend classes for them or play together with their friends. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but we should all encourage children to be more active and to create while spending less time in front of screens. You can enforce this by earning screen time by completing other activities (www.yourmodernfamily.com/no-screen- time-until-free-printable/).

Make screen time count

Don’t waste time on the computer or tablet but instead encourage your children to use their allotted screen time to play educational games, explore websites where they will learn new things or to read online. Razkids.com and IXL.com are wonderful websites to practice reading and math but these are certainly not the only options.The websites found at www.ayearofmanyfirsts.blogspot.com are a great place to start for elementary-aged students.

The most important thing to remember is that the more active children are the better. An active body means an alert brain – so get up, go out, have fun!

Aubrey Fowler is currently the Elementary Principal at The American School (TAS) in Thao Dien, District 2. She is proud to have been part of the school since its inception in 2010. 

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