School's out for summer, but not forever.
Local educators say parents and students can do few things during the long break to keep young learners on top of their academic game.
“The one thing I recommend the strongest is to read,” said Gregory Smith, superintendent of Maumee schools.
Numerous other educators agreed, saying that reading any material is helpful, including magazines and newspapers. Several elementary school teachers suggested that parents read to their younger children.
“Kids should be reading every day,” said Robin Laird, assistant principal of Perrysburg Junior High School.
Many schools hand out lists of suggested summer reading, and some high school honors classes require students to read certain novels before the new year begins.
Libraries are an important resource during the summer. Many offer summer reading programs, and librarians can help younger children choose books that are appropriate to their reading level.
Writing and spelling are good skills to practice over the summer, teachers said.
“I suggest that kids write postcards or notes to relatives,” said Lorraine Caserta, a fifth grade teacher at Glenwood Elementary School in Rossford.
Travel journals are another idea for families who may be going on vacations or taking day trips during the summer months.
“Journals let kids tell their own story about what's happening, and it's a good way to keep writing skills and spelling fresh,” said Tracey Gerkens, an elementary school teacher at West Side Montessori Center.
Ms. Gerkens also suggested that parents allow children to help plan vacations so they learn how to use maps and find out about the history of places on the itinerary.
Helping to figure out gas mileage on long trips could keep older students on their toes, said Mrs. Laird.
“It's great any time a kid can be involved in real-life activities using math,” she said.
For students who have done well during the school year, summer can be an opportunity to seek out additional challenges, such as academic camps, said Clarence Smith, principal of Rogers High School in Toledo. He said students who need extra help with their studies might find summer school useful.
“Summer school helps students catch up on work at a different pace,” he said.
While educators agreed that summer learning is important, some noted that summer should be a time for students to relax.
“Summer should be educational and fun without a lot of pressure to be studying,” Ms. Gerkens said.