Remember that feeling you got every fall when you started the new school year? That feeling that you were still in vacation mode? Well, that phenomenon is commonly referred to as "summer brain drain" - a measurable process in which students lose 2-3 months worth of knowledge over the summer break. Numerous studies show that summer brain drain is not only real, but it is holding students back. One study suggests that you can see signs of brain drain as early as first grade and that some students can become as far as 2 years behind their classmates by 6th grade because of their lack of summer education.
Not to worry, losing 2-3 months of math or reading skills doesn't mean you need 2-3 months to relearn them. In fact, these skills are easy to maintain or regain with just 2-3 hours of practice each week. Whether you are at home all summer long, enrolled in camps, or plan to vacation, there are easy ways to help your child stay on top of their math and reading skills. We have provided a list of ways to help avoid that dreaded summer brain drain wherever they go.
Keep a Journal
Journal writing is more valuable than you may think. Aside from the obvious spelling and grammar skills, keeping a journal reinforces key skills such as emotional awareness, self-reflection, creativity, and planning. Just 10 minutes of writing each day can do wonders for a child's development.
A chapter a day keeps the brain drain away!
It may seem obvious, but reading each day is one of the most important habits you can instill in a child. Even 20-30 minutes of reading can make all difference. Fluency, reading accuracy, reading rate, vocabulary, comprehension, and complex thought are all affected by how frequently a person reads.
Math Facts Worksheets
Ah yes, the dreaded math facts. Multiplication, addition, subtraction, division, you name it. These are one of the easiest skills to lose if not practiced regularly. You can order books, print pages from online, or even download apps to help keep this skill fresh.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are a fun way to keep a child reading, writing, and calculating all summer long. Create projects that require measuring or following directions. This allows them to learn without feeling like they are back at school.
Write Post Cards
Each day of vacation is full of adventure and new, unique experiences. Encourage your kids to write about their experiences at the end of each day. They practice spelling, grammar, and self-reflection in a fun way.
Keep a Journal
For even more practice with writing, keep a vacation journal. Not only will you child keep up with writing, but they will have written memories to last a lifetime.
Board games, card games, word games, and more can help to maintain math skills. These types of games allow students to continue with math education without having to sit down and complete worksheets.
Podcasts are a fun and effective way to keep up with reading on the go. Download a podcast before a flight or long car trip to listen to between events. Asking questions about the story will help to build comprehension as well.
Have any tips of your own? We'd love to hear them!