Summer Time Learning

by Carol Chandler-Wood

Woohoo! School is out for the summer so we can all take a break and sleep in late, splash around the pool, eat popsicles and ice cream, and go to the movies! Learning can stop now! Right? Wrong! Summer time provides the BEST opportunity students have to enrich their academic skills if they desire to get ahead before school begins again or catch up in skills if they ended the school year below average in an area. During the summer, because school has ended and teachers are not moving through any additional curriculum, students have the opportunity to gain ground in their academics and with their school’s expectations. Whereas, during the school year if students fall behind, they must catch up with what they have missed AND keep up with what is being taught on a day-by-day basis BOTH at the same time. This is very difficult to do and can be extremely stressful! So, mom and dad, give the students in your family the opportunity to do what they can not easily do during the school year, which is to CATCH UP or MOVE AHEAD in their academics and solve their STUDY SKILL weaknesses this summer!

What can you do during the summer to enrich skills or catch up in abilities? First, locate your child’s most recent standardized achievement and cognitive test scores and determine in which areas they are performing below, on, or above average as compared to his or her grade level in school. This can be located in the column that reads GE for grade equivalency or PR for percentile. Any area(s) in which the student scored below 50 in the percentile column or below their grade and month level in the GE column when the tests were administered, these are ones in which the student was performing below average at that time and needs remediation this summer. If the student scored above 50, he/she is performing above average; if about 50, performance is in the average range. By examining your child’s most recent test scores and determining which areas are below, on, or above average, you will then know which academic areas need attention during the summer so the student can START SCHOOL SHARP!

Next, locate professional tutorial resources for your child. If you will be teaching them at home, purchase the appropriate materials and work with your child on a consistent, weekly schedule. Do not allow the student to skip around within workbooks and complete the “fun” pages first, as the material is purposefully presented in a sequential order. Select a study place for each student which is equipped with the learning supplies and tools needed. If taking your child to a professional tutorial center, make sure he or she attends sessions on a consistent schedule with the same warm and caring professional, adult instructor who has teaching experience, utilizes nationally recognized materials with proven track records, and provides individualized instruction in an environment free from distractions and interruptions. Know the credentials of the instructor; such as his or her areas of teaching experience and educational degree. For reading work, a teacher with experience and training in reading instructional methods would be best. In math, someone with a degree and/or teaching experience in math is ideal. Ask for references and contact them to learn about their experience with the professional tutor you are considering. Request to see the instructional area and observe sessions in progress.

Remember, SUMMER is the most ideal time for students to get a JUMP START on the next school year! I hope your children have a great summer sleeping in late, splashing around the pool, eating popsicles and ice cream, watching movies, AND participating in SUMMER LEARNING!!