Class Notes: Even though summer is here, learning shouldn’t stop


School’s out for the summer as of yesterday. It’s officially summertime for our students. But even though classes won’t be in session again until August 22, that doesn’t mean learning needs to stop for 11 weeks.

A Stanford study tells us that the average loss of knowledge for a child is 18 percent during the summer break. And it’s estimated that for an English language learner, the loss may be at least 30 percent.

So, mom and dad, what can you do about this expected summertime loss of knowledge? The quick and easy answer is, quite a bit, actually. There is a lot you can do to keep your child’s brain active and alive over the course of the summer. And that doesn’t mean your child can’t have fun during this time away from the structured school setting, and we’re by no means suggesting that you do anything but totally enjoy the summer break with your kids.

What we are suggesting is that you stay actively involved with your child to make reading a part of every day. For example, our executive director of elementary programs, Beth Thompson, directs us to a ton of resources available on the “Parents” pages of the school district website (, including reading lists you may want to follow.

“One of the things we’ve learned by working with children over the years is that they say one of the reasons they don’t read much is that they don’t have material they really like to read,” said Thompson. “Taking your child to the library should be fun, and everything there is free. You might even get a library card for your child, and that’s free, too.”

The library also has computers you may use to check out the online resources we just spoke about.

Thompson further suggests that you read to your children daily. Reading to them increases their listening comprehension, vocabulary and fluency because they are hearing a good role model (you) reading. Then ask about what has been read.

According to Thompson, “It’s the questioning and the talking about what you’ve read that’s most important. We need to ask our children to explain or summarize what the story is about, and then bring in writing by asking them to write a response to what has been read.”

The vocabulary piece: If you come across a word that your child is not familiar with, here’s a chance to teach them that word and make it a point to use that word over and over and over again. It’ll soon become a part of his or her vocabulary. I did this with my sons many years ago and my granddaughters in recent times. It really works.

There’s more to share and we will next week. For now, it’s summer for you and the kids. Enjoy!

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