JACKSONVILLE, Fla - Students can digress two to three months in their academic skills during summer vacation, especially in math, spelling and reading comprehension. This can be particularly detrimental for young students who are learning to read.
But before you panic, experts say just a little bit of academics a day can make all the difference.
The National Summer Learning Association reports that nine in 10 teachers spend at least three weeks re-teaching lessons at the start of the school year.
"If they don't do anything, they've lost all memory of what they did, even two months ago," said Amanda Edgerton, an algebra teacher at Terry Parker High School. "The basics have to be reviewed over and over and over again. It comes, but it's not as quick."
Edgerton said it doesn't take much effort -- or an education degree -- to make a difference. Parents can fill the gap with some simple strategies and a plan.
"I think a little bit helps, even if it's just like a day -- because I teach math -- so just like a day of working on multiplication facts, just a day, a minute. It's so different in the classroom with them being able to come in and know something," Edgerton said.
Dane Gilbert with Communities In Schools of Jacksonville, who used to be a principal at Terry Parker High, pointed out that teaching opportunities can be found everywhere -- if you're looking.
"Whether it's a set reading time every day, you can incorporate it with other family activities," Gilbert said. "If you're going to a ballgame, you have statistics. If you're cooking something at home, you have recipes that you have to measure. So there are a lot of things that you have (available) to build into fun, summer activities because you have to trick the kids a little bit."
Right now, Communities in Schools is operating 25 free academically enriched summer camps across the city that are giving kids a safe place to grow and learn.
The certified teachers on staff engage students with hands-on learning with a focus on STEM and literacy to ensure that they not only retain their academic skills but advance in their studies and critical thinking.
Communities in Schools of Jacksonville focuses on addressing the needs of the whole child, whether that's an after-school meal or literacy tutoring. It is committed to breaking down any barriers a student may have to graduation. For more information, visit Communities in Schools online.
Easy tips to follow
Experts with Communities in Schools also offered some simple advice for parents looking to engage their children in learning over the summer:
- Use online resources like iReady available through the school district year-round.
- Download an educational app to reinforce learning.
- Try at-home science experiments (you can find ideas online).
- Head to the library.
- Check out a teacher supply store for workbooks, flashcards and other tools.
For more on these tips and ways to balance playtime and learning at home, click here.
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