Maintaining academic skills over the summer

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Over the summer holidays, students are at risk of a significant loss of academic skills.  Studies have indicated that this loss can be the equivalent of a month of instruction, as well as up to two months for students from disadvantaged areas.  When school starts again, the student therefore has to dedicate a substantial amount of time and effort to relearning and catching up on certain aptitudes – time and effort that could be spent learning new things.  Losses may be more significant in math than in reading due to the fact that there are fewer opportunities to practice math skills outside of school.

Why work over the summer?

In order to minimize this loss, it is important to regularly take the time to review and to support the student in remembering the information and skills learned during the school year, as well as to consolidate those that may be more fragile.  Keeping the mind active will also help counter any memory loss that may occur.

A variety of summer programs exist and some may even be offered in your child’s school.  These programs have many positive effects on learners, and can be a good way to maintain aptitudes over the summer break.  In addition to reinforcing existing abilities and knowledge, they can help students learn new things.  A number of these programs have demonstrated that their students develop new reading and writing skills, as well as new vocabulary.  This can also help improve a student’s self-confidence and reduce anxiety as the new school year approaches.

Activities to do with your children:

Aside from formal summer programs, a number of activities can be done at home in order to avoid the loss of skills while still having fun.  You might try cooking together, visiting museums, creating a summer reading list, or playing board games.  These activities will allow your children to practice a variety of math and language skills, all while cultivating their natural curiosity.  Through game play, they can develop strategy memory skills.

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