Inside Education: Summer brain

We’re probably all familiar with the term “summer slide.” While the 10 weeks of summer vacation can be good for our students to re-energize and enjoy being a kid, there can be a balance with engaging in relaxed learning to avoid the loss of knowledge and skills acquired during the school year.

According to the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, students who don’t engage in summer learning on average lose the equivalent of two months’ worth of grade-level math and reading skills.

At the elementary level in Ridgefield, the elementary math specialists have provided parents with tools for spending time with their children practicing math and building numbers sense in a fun way. For easy reference, a summer calendar providing short daily math activities to keep students’ brains focused is posted on each school website.

The elementary schools also encourage reading over the summer to maintain reading achievement. The goal is to get kids reading as much as possible and continue to foster a love of reading. The schools provide strategies for parents to help kids personally choose the reading that is right for them. To celebrate the reading that our students’ have done over the summer, our elementary schools participate in the governor’s summer reading challenge in conjunction with the Ridgefield Library.

Our middle schools also participate in the governor’s summer reading challenge. Students are asked to read as much as they can throughout the summer months, and to record titles and number of pages read. In September, these reading logs will be given to the middle school teachers and sent to the state. The schools that have read the most and have the highest degree of participation will receive recognition by the governor. The Ridgefield Library also offers a summer program for teens so students in grades 9-12 can sign up and participate. Visit the Ridgefield Library website for more details, and please visit the individual school websites.

This column was submitted to The Press by the nine members of the Ridgefield Board of Education.