Keep students learning this summer


SALISBURY –Academic studies verify what teachers and parents already know, that, over the course of the summer vacation, students lose reading and math skills; so it’s good to know parents can do something to combat the problem.

The steepest decline is usually in math skills because most children have opportunities to practice reading over the summer. Students who read during summer vacation may actually gain reading skills over the summer but those who don’t regress.

“The obvious solution is to provide children with books to read. But selecting books, even choosing a library book, can be challenging,” said Becky Grinath, executive director of Sylvan Learning Centers on the Lower Eastern Shore. “ provides valuable guidance as well as motivation to encourage students to read.”

Using your home computer, or one at the library, you can visit Book Adventure™ to find books suitable for K-8 students. The website lists over 7,000 recommended titles according to reading level. Students can create their own reading list as well as take multiple-choice quizzes on books they’ve read to earn points and prizes. Sponsors offer various prizes and parents can log on to add their own incentives. This free program and the website were created and is maintained by Sylvan Learning.

Practicing skills is a highly effective way to help students retain information and skills. This is especially true for math. Book Adventure’s website links users to where students can find variety of fun games that enable them to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as fractions and decimals, whole numbers, square root, cubes, English and metric measurement and more. Math games include challenges for students through grade 12. Many of them will challenge parents as well! Some are designed for two players allowing you to participate with your child or for two students to challenge each other.

Knowledge grows most when learning is a daily activity. Although students have different styles of learning, most have some proficiency at visual learning, which makes reading a key way of keeping knowledge alive. Take students to the library or take advantage of the bookmobile when it comes through your neighborhood to keep children supplied with reading material. Local libraries sponsor fun, summer education activities for children. Libraries have Saturday and evening hours to make it easier for working parents to take children to check out books.

Self-help or student-directed learning activities are not for every child. Another way to reduce or reverse summer “brain drain” is summer school or tutoring. Struggling kids can get many different kinds of help from these programs. Summer school can also enrich and accelerate learning in areas where kids show a special interest.

If tutoring is something you are considering for your student, call Sylvan Learning Center in Salisbury, 410-341-4100 or Pocomoke, 410-957-4774 for more information.