Summer fun and learning can go hand-in-hand

Mark My Words

The final school bell has sounded for area school children.
Teachers and student alike are ready for a break.
Summer should be a time of rest, relaxation and fun for students. However, that doesn’t mean any and all learning has to stop.
Back in my day (yes, I just aged myself by saying that), my grandma enrolled me in a summer program called “G.R.A.S.P.” It reminded me of the M.E.A.P. test we used to take, as it had little circles that you filled in with a No. 2 pencil to mark your answers.
When you completed a test, you mailed it back; they graded it and mailed it back to you. Yes, younger friends, that was called “fast service” back in the old days.
My grandma, a former teacher, always kept me on my toes when it came to my learning. From practicing spelling words and test questions over the phone to G.R.A.S.P. in the summer, grandma made sure I stayed sharp.
As a child, I was not overly fond of that, but I did as I was asked. What a concept, right? I am glad she did what she did for me.
As a teacher myself, and a parent to school-aged children, we make sure our children continue their education over the summer.
We don’t go crazy, but we make sure they are reading and writing in their journals, and we will throw some other lessons their way as the summer progresses.
According to research from Reading is Fundamental, students who do not read over the summer can lose as much as 22 percent of their reading level. Or in their words, two months of school.
I do understand that not ALL students will lose that much, or any at all, for that matter. But what is the harm with keeping things like books in front of students over the summer? There is nothing wrong with encouraging a student to — gasp — read a book!
Consider going to the library from time-to-time over the summer. We have a great bookstore right in Three Rivers. When your child finds a book they like, read it with them. Take turns reading to each other. Read a book and then watch the movie version of the book. The list goes on and on.
One area I always suggest as an important topic to work on when reading is comprehension skills. When reading with your child, take time to review what you read, what happened and all the details surrounding the events in the story.
There are also several free websites out there that your student can access to brush up on their skills in math and grammar.
Aside from schoolwork over summer break, it is also important for your child to become involved. Whether it is an art class downtown, camps, vacation bible schools or other events, getting them out of the house and away from electronics is essential.
If all else fails, take a walk, go the park or just sit on the front porch and spend time together. As my wife says, “you’re going to miss this.”
Summer is time for fun don’t get me wrong. However, if we take just a little time to refresh, remind and remember, it can only help getting off on the right foot when that school bell rings again in the fall!
Mark McGlothlen was born and raised in Constantine and now resides in Three Rivers. He can be reached at

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