Monday, 05 December 2022

Keep kids learning during the summer

LAKE COUNTY – The summer months offer fun time for kids, but education officials are encouraging parents to also make it a time of learning.


The state Parent Teacher Association and the California Department of Education have compiled dozens of ideas for free or low-cost summer learning activities.


All of this information is available on the Department of Education's Summer Activities for 2007 Web site at www.cde.ca.gov/nr/re/ht/yr07summer.asp.


Top 10 List For Summer Learning


1. Encourage reading. Help establish a love of reading at an early age. Reading helps improve writing and communication skills as well as improve learning throughout the summer. Parents may access two California Department of Education (CDE) literature databases. The Recommended Literacy Search contains a list of 4,743 publications, searchable by author, title, keyword, grade level, language, culture, genre, curriculum connection, and even by which award they won. Another 663 math and science publications will be added to the database this summer. To access the database, please visit Search List, Recommended Literature for Reading and Language Arts, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, at www.cde.ca.gov/ci/rl/ll/ap/litsearch.asp.


Another CDE database can help parents tailor a list of appropriate reading materials based on their child's reading level as assessed on the state’s standardized tests. This list is tied into the Recommended Literature Search and covers a range of subjects and interests. To access the California Reading List, please visit California Reading List (CRL) – Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR), at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/readinglist.asp.


Take your children to the public library where they can obtain their own library cards, learn how to find books, and check them out free of charge. Many public libraries offer free summer reading programs as well. Ask your local librarian about the schedule of events at your library and the resources available to you and your children.


2. Participate in community summer programs. Many local education agencies, nonprofit organizations, governments, and businesses offer interesting summer events, such as music, singing, cooking, sports, cheerleading, forensics, engineering, and robotics summer camps. For summer camp locations and other activities near you, please visit CDE’s Summer Activities for 2007 Web page at California Reading List (CRL) – Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR), www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/readinglist.asp.


3. Encourage the use of math. Give your child practical experience using mathematics at home. Put your preschool child's counting ability to work. In preparation for meals, let the child count out the number of forks or dinner napkins needed for the table, the number of servings from a meal, or any other quantity. Mention the size of containers, such as pints of cream and half gallons of milk. Allow your child to measure ingredients when you cook or add up costs when shopping.


4. Encourage creativity with art. Keep your child supplied with sheets of paper, crayons, finger paints, modeling clay, burlap, paste, marking pens, scraps of cloth, yarn, scraps of wood, and water colors. Provide a workspace for your child and encourage the creation of works of art. Proudly display your child's best creations on the wall, door, or bulletin board. Give frequent opportunities for the expression of artistic ability, like making birthday and greeting cards. Encourage help with holiday decorations. Encourage musical activity in the home or on family trips. Let the child be a music maker as well as a listener. A toy piano, drum, tuned bells, or harmonica can help teach the rudiments of rhythm and tone.


5. Have fun with science. Work with your child on projects such as making bird feeders, caring for pets, setting up a home weather station, observing the night sky and preparing a family vegetable or flower garden. Talk with your child's science teacher and get useful tips to help you reinforce your child's formal science training. Summer is an ideal time to visit museums and zoos in your community. Many of these are free or low cost for young children. For a list of zoos and museums, please visit Summer Activities for 2007 – Hot Topics, www.cde.ca.gov/nr/re/ht/yr07summer.asp.


6. Get active. Contact your local city or county offices to find out what free or low-cost summer programs are available for your children. Often local parks and recreation departments offer programs throughout the summer that provide both recreation and education opportunities like youth sports leagues, swimming, baseball, basketball, soccer, cheerleading, tennis, white water rafting, dance, drama, the arts, sports for children using wheelchairs, enrichment classes, concerts and other youth programs.


7. Volunteer for a good cause. Local zoos, animal shelters, and senior community centers often need volunteer help. For example, teenagers can explore animal-related careers while gaining work experience, and help teach children and families about animals, the environment,and conservation. Another option is to search an area of interest and volunteer through the California Volunteer Web site at www.californiavolunteers.org/index.asp.


8. Start writing. To encourage creative writing, jot down stories your child tells or songs they make up. Show them to the child later. Suggest they be illustrated and "published" for grandparents or other relatives as gifts.


9. Encourage social studies. Discuss current events. Read newspapers and periodicals. Watch the local and national newscasts. Provide your child with social studies research materials, including a dictionary, atlas, globe, and almanac. A map of the city and road maps are excellent for plotting trips and helping the child understand geographic relationships. Keep the research items conveniently close to the TV for use during news and documentary programs.


10. Helping out at home. Teaching children early and often about doing chores around the house helps them learn important skills like cooperation, teamwork, fairness, patience, responsibility, and values. It also helps free up some time so you can just enjoy being with your children.


In addition to these top 10 tips, the California State PTA Web site also has a number of suggestions at www.capta.org.


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