At the end of every school year, the last school bell rings, signaling the beginning of summer vacation. Students leave their school campuses excited to take a break from school. However, the summer can be a period where formal learning stops. According to a recent study by Oxford Learning, students can lose an average of two months of reading skills during the summer. With summer fast approaching, it is crucial for families to explore summer options and maximize student learning and enrichment during these months.
For younger students, this can be an opportunity for them to explore areas of passion that aren’t taught within schools. With budgeting and an increased focus in testing, schools are often replacing programs like arts and music with reading and math. While reading and math are fundamental skills necessary for academic success, students should also be given the option to put their creativity to work and unleash this potential in subjects of their choice.
While prestigious summer programs can sometimes come with a hefty price tag, many offer need based scholarships that make them accessible to more students. Parents should reach out to these programs and ask for opportunities for financial aid and even multi-week and sibling discounts. Some programs have a pool of resources gathered from fundraising and donations to make these unique enrichment opportunities a reality for all kids who wish to attend them.
If summer programs are a challenge due to costs or commute times, informal learning can happen inside the home as well. Families can come together and create a reading plan for students. A summer reading challenge can help support reading skills during the summer and allow students to explore books and authors that they haven’t been exposed to before. This is a perfect time for students to visit their local library and gather books that spark an interest. Students can also use the summer months at home to explore the outdoors, which can be as simple as trying out a new sport or taking daily walks in a nearby park. If students can nurture their physical health during the summer months, their academics will benefit from this activity once the following school year begins.
Parents should also seek input from their children’s teachers and ask for any observations or summer recommendations that they may have. Students spend many hours of their day under the care of educators who may sometimes see a different side of students than parents do. Stakeholders should maintain constant communication because this, in turn, only works to benefit the student.
Regardless of the route that families decide to take during the summer, asking students for their input is crucial to the success of the plan that is created. Every student develops a passion, and we owe it to our kids to engage with it and support their individual development.
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