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The "summer slide" may sound like fun, but it's definitely something you'll want to keep your kids far away from this summer! It is a phenomenon teachers know all too well - the loss of knowledge and ability that typically occurs when formal education stops during the summer months. But Michelle Wright from LearningRx has the plan that will keep your child's development from regressing this summer break.
· The average student loses approximately 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in math computation skills over the summer months.
· Research shows ALL young people experience learning losses when they don't engage in educational activities during the summer.
· Teachers typically spend 4 to 6 weeks re-teaching or reviewing material that students have forgotten over summer break.
In many ways, the brain is like a muscle and the old adage "use it or lose it" certainly holds true. Mental training can improve the brain, just as physical exercise can improve the body. So, here are some tips to keep your kids from "losing it" over summer break.
Simply getting your child to read every day is a great way to slow the summer slide. According to Scholastic Parents Online, research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. When choosing the six, make sure they're the right level - not too hard and not too easy.
Many other simple, easy and fun activities can help you keep your kids off the summer slide, and possibly even make school easier for them when they return. These exercises keep the brain energized while building cognitive skills, the underlying mental abilities needed to learn.
Some of these activities incorporate physical elements, some are perfect games to play in the car, and some are a great alternative to a video game when your child's simply too hot, too tired, or too sunburned to play outside.
When playing games with kids, parents should focus on seven major learning skills: attention, working memory, processing speed, long-term memory, logic and reasoning, auditory processing, and visual processing.
Eight Ways to Build Brain Skills
1 - Attention: an underlying skill to all other learning skills. Important for all life activities, underlies all other cognitive skills. The three major types of attention are: Sustained: the ability to be able to stay on task Selective: the ability to stay on task even when distraction is present Divided: the ability to attend to and handle two or more tasks at one time Use brain-boosting, store-bought games like Bop-it and Perfection.
2 - Working Memory: the ability to retain information, and hold on to it for another upcoming task. Important for conversations, math problems, lectures, and note taking. A game of 20 questions or Clue will help a student not only develop this skill but will help them this fall with math.
3 - Processing Speed: the ability to quickly process and use information. Important for making everything faster including reading, homework, driving, and sports. This is a great chance to get outside and show a physical aspect of brain boosting. Jumping rope, swinging, dribbling a basketball or jumping on a trampoline can make kids think faster!
4 - Auditory Processing: the ability to process sounds. Helps people hear the difference, order, and number of sounds in words faster. Important for lectures, reading, writing (#1 skill needed to learn to read and spell). A simple stack of wood alphabet blocks and a short lesson in sounds can strengthen these skills.
5 - Visual Processing: the ability to process and make use of visual images. Important for creating mental pictures faster and more vividly; improves comprehension, the ability to read maps and "see" word math problems, and excel in sports. Learning to draw, jigsaw puzzles and looking at objects from a different perspective can develop this skill.
6 - Long-term Memory: the ability to retrieve past information. Important for test taking, remembering names. Memorize the last names of the first 10 presidents. Recite them forward and backward. The games Simon, Memory Match, and Mnemonics can improve this skill.
7 - Reading Comprehension: the ability to understand words and concepts. Important for school, work, and leisure reading. Teach a child to create a full image in his head by helping them create his own movies.
8 - Logic and Reasoning: the ability to reason, plan, and think. Important for creative thinking, problem solving, and math.