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Keep Kids Engaged in Learning to Avoid the Summer Slide

Now that summer vacation has started, teachers are stressing the need to keep kids engaged in learning. (Woodley Wonderworks - Flickr)
Now that summer vacation has started, teachers are stressing the need to keep kids engaged in learning. (Woodley Wonderworks - Flickr)
June 27, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. - With schools in Virginia out for the summer, educators stress that we should keep our young students connected to learning, to avoid the "summer slide."

Alexandria 4th grade teacher Christina Bohringer said research confirms that children lose ground if they don't keep reading and learning over the long break. She said avoiding the slide isn't hard, in fact, it can be fun.

"What you do over the summer with your child doesn't have to be grand and big," she said. "It's the little moments where kids will see that parents value education and that learning anything new is important."

She said the single most important thing for a student to do over the break is to keep reading, a little bit every day. Bohringer is also a member of the Virginia Education Association. She said one good thing is that during the summer, students can decide what they want to read. She recommends taking advantage of public libraries, and letting the kids pick what they want. Even if it's maybe not exactly what parents would choose, she said it's good to let them enjoy a book.

"Reading by the pool, reading under the bed, reading outside under the tree, all of those things are things they don't get to do during the school year," she said. "During the summer they can read for fun."

Bohringer said an option for parents is to visit one of Virginia's many educational sites of historical and scientific interest. She said many are free or don't cost much. She said students don't get enough chances for field trips during the school year, but they add a lot to a students' education, as when her students went to Jamestown.

"Where colonists settled and how Native Americans actually lived," she added. "And it really put the pieces together for them. We've been talking about it and we've been looking at pictures of it, but until you stand there - it's that light bulb moment."

She said taking education out of the classroom is chance for students to connect to learning in a way they enjoy.

More resources for parents can be found here.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA