Community Outreach Academy  - A SUMMER WELL SPENT

Summer is upon us once again and parents are beginning to plan for their children's days without a school schedule. Dreams of days filled with family, friends, freedom and laughter are in students' heads as they say goodbye to another school year.

However, a nonacademic summer can cause students at every grade level to regress two to three months in their academic skills unless something is done. Fortunately, summer is an ideal time for students of all ages to strengthen their academic skills in fun ways while still having plenty of time left over for other summer activities. All it takes is for them to start new habits that can help them close any learning gaps and perform at higher levels during the upcoming school year.


Make Time for Learning and Developing Skills. Set aside time for your child to read each day during the summer break – even just 15 to 30 minutes per day is all it takes! During the summer, students have more time to read for enjoyment, which offers multiple opportunities to preserve and strengthen their reading skills. Recommended summer activities include taking your children to the public library to check out books of interest and/or encouraging them to participate in any summer reading groups they'd like to join. Check your local library for free weekly reading activities or events such as Family Storytime.  If you want to make the trip to the library a fun activity, try visiting libraries that have a park or some sort of recreational facility nearby. For example, the Folsom Public Library, Folsom City Lions Park, Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary and Folsom Valley Railway are all conveniently located in one area.

It also helps to become more hands-on with respect to your children’s education. Parents of students reading below grade level should read with their children to help them pronounce words that they might not be able to decode themselves. Community Outreach Academy (COA) uses the Razz Kids online library where children can also listen to stories and answer a few comprehension questions at the end.  Students of all grades and ability levels can benefit from working with material that offers self-quizzes and high-interest stories. This practice helps develop their fact-retaining and inference-making skills. If you don’t have access to Razz Kids please speak with your child’s teacher and we will assist you with setting up!

FastForword is another program that COA uses. It serves as a personalized deliberate practice system that utilizes a wide variety of language and reading skills. It is an online language and reading intervention software that targets learning struggles at their core, starting in the brain. Depending on the children’s levels and grades, they will complete a variety of exercises involving auditory processing, attention, and memory, grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure and reading comprehension.

One major concern that parents have to deal with is the prospect of helping their kids learn the four-letter word: Math. Though it may not seem fun to them at the time, helping them work on just three to four math problems per day during the summer can prevent their mathematical skills from getting rusty, help them close the gaps in their math skills, preserve what they learned during the previous school year and help them prepare for the next. They can look at it as a daily challenge that they must complete, or a daily "to-do" to proudly check off their calendar before they turn their attention to other things. Parents can purchase a math workbook for their child's academic level at most bookstores to make things easier.

Furthermore, Math Whizz is a math program customized for your child’s mathematics level.  Depending on the child’s age, 30 minutes a week of Math Whizz can keep your child’s brain sharp (Please make sure you get your child’s log in before you go on break).  A word of advice: pinpoint the subjects that your child had the most trouble learning during the previous school year and make sure to fit in some practice in these areas. Summer is an ideal time to set aside just 15 to 30 minutes a day for helping your student on areas of difficulty. Again, use every resource available to you! If possible, frame it in a way that is fun for them as they will likely learn better that way.

Encourage Creativity and Play. Skill development need not be drudgery, however. Creative writing is a great way to improve your children's written language skills while giving them a fun and imaginative activity during the summer! Have your student write a creative paragraph, poem, story or other medium each week. As a parent, you can help by assisting him or her with choosing a "topic" (such as a family vacation, special outing or holiday memory) to write about. Students can also benefit from using a thesaurus and changing several common words to more interesting words. This will make their writing more interesting for them even while they learn new words. You could also encourage roleplay by asking them an extremely powerful question: “What if…?” Have them answer it through their writing. Over the summer, students and parents who practice the above tips will observe significant improvements in scholastic skills and avoid the common two to three months’ worth of learning regression. With the help of parents and other concerned adults, summer learning can be fun and challenging at the same time. By implementing a summer plan and igniting your child's passion for learning, he or she can enjoy a renewed sense of academic self-esteem and dignity on top of the wonderful benefits of learning.

Final Reminders. Please speak with your teacher and make sure you receive all log in information before you take off for a fun summer. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. Have fun and keep learning!


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