By Harold Remme
ISD 88 Superintendent
Summer months provide students and staff with an opportunity to move away from the normal school routine. Often times, students and staff will sleep in later in the morning and stay up later at night. The change in routine has advantages for both students and staff to relax, renew, and regenerate.
Summer recess can also provide an opportunity to continue learning. Many school staff are engaged in participating in professional learning opportunities by attending college classes and workshops. These opportunities allow staff to develop new instructional techniques for implementation as the new school year begins on Sept. 4.
For students, summer recess provides opportunities to engage in enriching experiences such as summer camps, time with family, and trips to museums, parks or libraries.
Research validates that all young people experience learning losses when they are not engaged in educational activities during the summer months. Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math computational skills over the summer months.
Additional research indicates that children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children gain weight during summer months adding to the obesity problem in our nation.
While concern about summer learning loss is a reality, parents also need to recognize the positive impact of non-academic activity available during the summer months. Families can minimize the learning loss by incorporating academic activity along with recreational activity. A Harvard study found that reading 4-5 books over the summer can positively impact fall reading achievement. Having children read about places they will visit on vacation is also a way to maintain reading skills and be informed about what they will see on vacation. Similar activities can be incorporated using math skills.
The month of June will soon be history. Once July 1 arrives, only 65 days remain until school resumes on Sept. 4. Families are encouraged to make the most of these days to relax, regenerate, renew and recall reading and math skills.