Summer Learning Retention Tips

Education can continue through the summer months, here's how

Journaling and reading can help with your tween's summer learning.
Summer learning doesn't have to be boring, find fun workbooks and incorporate learning activities.. Photo: Patrick Nijhuis, freeimages.com

The summer months present a variety of challenges to parents of tweens. Keeping preteens occupied for the three-month summer period is, in itself, difficult. Summer learning retention is also a consideration, as parents worry that their kids will forget all they learned over the school year.

A few simple strategies and habits will help your child remember everything he learned, and prepare him for the new school year ahead.

Incorporate them into your daily summer routine, and by the time the bell rings your preteen will be ready to take on new subjects and challenges.

Summer Learning - Retention Tips for Tweens

  • Read Everyday -- This is probably the single best habit you can encourage. At the beginning of the summer, take your tween to your local library or bookstore to stock up on reading materials. It doesn’t really matter if your child is reading comic books, or epic adventures, as long as he’s reading. Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you that the secret to summer learning is to read, read, read. Be sure to ask your child's school if they have a summer reading list. Such a list can introduce your child to books he or she wouldn't ordinarily read. Or, make a summer reading list together, and keep track of the books your child reads. You can even offer rewards for each finished book, such as a trip to the local ice cream parlor.
  • Journal It -- Summer learning doesn't have to be boring. Before summer begins, purchase a diary or a journal for your tween. Journaling will help your tween polish his or her writing skills. Plus, it's a great way for a preteen to document his summer vacation. If your child prefers, he could always log his summer highlights through drawings, sketches, or photography, instead of journaling. 
  • Use Flash Cards -- If your tween has had difficulty with a particular subject you can use his worksheets, tests, and other materials from the school year to make your own flashcards. Make the project fun by encouraging your tween to "test" you and by offering occasional rewards for a completed study session. Be sure to find stickers, markers and other supplies that will help your tween enjoy making the cards, and more likely to use them afterwards.

  • Go on a Field Trip -- Make summer learning fun by taking a family field trip. Field trips are a great way to keep your child's mind from turning to mush over the summer. Try to plan a field trip to a museum or some other location that might reinforce what your child learned over the school year. But be sure you also introduce your child to new subjects, as well. Museums, parks, battlefields, and libraries are obvious options for fun day trips. A family road trip is also a wonderful way to encourage summer learning and retention.

  • Consider a Tutor -- If you believe your child will fall behind in a particular subject over the summer, you might want to consider hiring a tutor to help your preteen reinforce what he learned during the school year. Be sure the tutor understands that you want your tween's lessons to be both fun and educational. Learning over the summer shouldn't be a chore, but rather a fun way to widen your child's horizons and foster a love of learning.

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