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Avoid the summer slide

To paraphrase an old song, it’s summertime, and for students out of school until August, the living is easy, right?
Nothing wrong with that. Youngsters should be allowed to decompress over the summer. Now more than ever, they face pressure to achieve in school, particularly on standardized tests the government uses to measure not only them, but their overworked, underpaid teachers as well.
However, summer shouldn’t be all lazy days, and it doesn’t have to be to include fun along with learning. Kids don’t turn their brains off over the summer break, and there are plenty of opportunities to keep those minds stimulated and growing.
And that’s important, because the alternative is that they lose some of what they just spent so much time and effort learning. According to the National Summer Learning Association:
• All young people experience learning losses when they don’t engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
• Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement.
• More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.
Rowan County residents have a variety of ways to counteract those summer learning losses.
Organizations offer camps throughout the summer involving history, science, arts and more. All combine fun and learning, and some that require a fee offer scholarships. For more information, check out the Post’s Summer Fun special section online at www.salisburypost.com.
There are historic places all over the county. Take the kids on a drive to see one, then have them research more about it.
For less structured time, the Rowan Public Library is a great place to keep kids active in learning. They have books to satisfy the interests of any young person, and the best part is, you only need a library card to take them home.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System is encouraging students to keep reading this summer with RSSReads. A website for the program, www.rssreads.com, includes a social network for students to share what they’ve read, access to online books and page where students can upload photos of themselves reading.
However you do it, make sure your child is not at a disadvantage when school starts in the fall because their brains weren’t exercised over the summer.

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