Help your child avoid summer brain drain - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Help your child avoid summer brain drain

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While you'll see many students spending the summer cooling off at splash parks, you'll find many others still in the classroom.

Even though the hallways are empty, school is in session at Blue Lick Elementary School.

For the first time this year, all incoming third graders at the school were invited to a summer camp to help improve reading and math skills.

Principal Melody Raymond says the school received a $5,000 grant from the state for the program.

Students work on computers and in groups in the hopes that they can can get a jump on more difficult material and improve their test scores.

"We have the brain drain over the summer when students are out of school and they just forget," said Melody Raymond, Blue Lick Elementary School Principal. "This is to extend school a little longer."

Studies show many students lose about two months of knowledge over the summer months. It can take teachers that long to get kids back on track once the next school year starts.

Aaniyah Burnett, a third grader at Blue Lick, doesn't mind being in school.

"I think it's funner to be here to get prepared for 3rd grade instead of just having fun and going to third grade and then you don't know a lot," she said.

Lisa Gimbel, a math teacher at Atherton High School, is helping students overcome math-phobia by trying to teach geometry in a fun way that students can relate to at a camp at Bellarmine University.

The goal: avoiding brain drain for her students.

"It's a reality. I mean it's a reality and the only thing I think will help that is summer enrichment camps like this," Gimbel said. "I hate to even say year-round school because I'm not an advocate of year-round school."

WDRB's Valerie Chin asked Brandon Alexander, an eighth grader at the Christian Academy of Louisville, if this was his idea for the summer.

"Not really, but I understand why I'm here," Alexander said. "I'm just coming here to help me for next year."

Gimbel says parents need to look for more learning opportunities for their kids. These opportunities can be as simple as playing a board game or going to a museum.

Gimbel gave a few examples of simple things to do with your children over the summer. "When you do a road trip," Gimbel said, "the kids all have their iPhones, why not have them convert miles into kilometers or do a distance-rate-speed thing? How fast are we going if we went this far and and this many hours?"

Another scholastic opportunity for Louisville area students is the Mathnasium of St. Matthews.

Katie Drew, the Center Director for the Mathnasium, explained how the program works.

"Each student has their own binder with their own learning plan, and each student has an individualized plan where they sit down with the instructor and the instructor goes over how to do the topic," Drew explained.

For this paid program, some students come twice a week as they try to master number facts.

Peyton Ethington's grandmother has seen a drastic difference in her granddaughter, who is now often seen smiling while working on math.

"Math wasn't one of her favorite subjects before," Ellen Ethington said. "She didn't completely understand the grasp of it, how to do it."

Peyton agrees. "I used to fall behind in school before with math and now i'm with the other students," she said.

Some parents hire summer tutors to get extra help for their children, which sometimes result in improved grades and self-esteem.

"I really don't expect any of them to reach mastery, but I do want them to have a pretty solid foundation," Gimbel explained.

The National Summer Learning Association suggests students read every day, participate in library summer reading programs, and practice math skills during everyday activities like going to the grocery store.

These are little things that let parents balance both letting kids be kids and making sure they're ready to hit the books when school starts.

"The better they read, the better they are going to perform in all their assessments in both reading and math," Principal Raymond said.

There are still several camps open for kids, along with free resources to help avoid brain drain. For information about these resources, just click on the Button.

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