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10 Tips to Avoid 'Summer Slide'

Worried about "summer slide?" That's the learning loss that happens during the summer months, when children exit the classroom and the academic and developmental gains they made in the past school year begin to erode. This is one slide that's definitely not fun.

"Summer slide is a real phenomenon," says Devra Ashby, public information officer for Colorado Springs School District 11, the largest school district in southern Colorado. "Kids can lose two and one-half months of math instruction and two months of reading instruction over the summer months."

Parents can play an important role in helping children hold fast to their newly attained learning and skills. Summer should be a break from school, not a break from learning, Ashby says. Finding ways to encourage a child to read, think and discover is key to setting up a successful return to school at summer's end.

"It's really important to find fun ways to incorporate math and reading into your child's everyday life throughout the summer," says Ashby. "They will come back stronger and have an easier time getting back into their school year in the fall."

And it's not too soon to plan for fall. Summer enrollment for elementary and middle school students new to District 11 takes place July 7, 2014 to July 31, 2014 at 1033 N. Franklin St. in downtown Colorado Springs.

Ashby offers these 10 tips to avoid summer slide:

1. Get kids reading: "Reading just six books over the summer will help struggling readers," says Ashby. Check with teacher to find out their reading level. Help them select books at their age level and reading comprehension level.

2. Join a book club: Sign up for "Fizz Boom Read!," the Pikes Peak Library District's free summer reading program for children. Activities run through July 31. Kids win prizes for reading progress and there's a party at the end of the program. "It's a great way to get them motivated to read books," says Ashby.

3. Visit a library: Libraries at most elementary schools in Colorado Springs School District 11 hold summer hours; call the school to ask about hours. Check out a book or just have fun exploring the shelves.

4. Read out loud: Kids love to be read to-even teens, says Ashby. Check out an audio book from the library to play during car trips.

5. Cook with your kids. Following a recipe will teach children fractions, addition, subtraction and give them practice following instructions. "It's a great bonding time," says Ashby. "They don't realize they are using math skills."

6. Run the numbers. Have your child use cash and coins to make a purchase and get correct change. Measure the rooms in your house. Chart the daily temperature. "Summer is a fabulous time to teach money comprehension and find fun ways to practice math skills," says Ashby.

7. Play games and keep score: Make time for board games, cards, even flash cards. Have your child keep score as you watch a baseball game together or bowl. "They don't realize they are putting their math skills to good use, and they are having fun doing it," says Ashby

8. Recruit a travel planner: ask your child to help plan part of any summer trip you might make. Get maps and brochures to help them set an itinerary.

9. Get out and about. Visit parks, zoos, museums and theatres. Use a map to explore a new neighborhood in your city or town.

10. Talk it up. Encourage your child to talk about the books he or she is reading and the activities they most enjoy. Share the names of books and activities you love, too. "Children learn by example," says Ashby. "Seeing you make time for reading and exploring throughout the summer may be the biggest incentive of all."

This article was produced for and sponsored by Colorado Springs School District 11. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA News 5.

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