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Archive for month: January, 2011

Learning nose dives during the summer break

January 28, 2011

The Summer slide is an American expression for the effects that the long summer holiday have on the progress of students’ academic progress.

But what is that effect? I remember the summer breaks of my childhood as idyllic times. In my memory, it never rained, and the freedom we had was wonderful. I’m not sure it was the same for my mother. Childcare in those days was provided by grandparents and the extended family. I know I certainly had fun but what effect did those six weeks have on my education?

Every September, I dreaded the beginning of term although I loved school. So why was that?

The first day of term would see me seated at my desk realizing that I’d forgotten so much from the previous term. In the States, there are activities provided, and schemes that attempt to stop this slide back. So, what should parents and educators be looking to do here in the UK or indeed anywhere else that the schools are closed for six week holidays?

Helping children to enjoy reading is a huge advantage. They absorb information like a sponge absorbs water, so if they enjoy reading they will learn so much. Experts recommend that each child reads six books during the break. Books that are not too hard and not too easy. If your child can read most of a page, struggling only on a few words, then that level is OK. Talk to them about what they’ve read. The ability to recount a story is a much-needed skill.

Take the children out for a walk…without phones or other electronic distractions. Talk to them about what they see around them. Make up stories with them to fire their imagination. Use the environment to help them count and multiply in their heads. Five birds on the water? How many birds would you see if there were eight times as many?

When my lad was small we counted vegetables in the supermarket, discussed colours and even learnt about politics when buying produce from different countries.

Don’t let your children forget what they learnt last term There are tutors out there to help your child retain this knowledge and be excited to hit the ground running in September.