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Five Tips to Stop the Summer "Brain Drain"



Help your kids start September off on the right foot


School may soon be ending, but the learning shouldn't stop when classroom doors close. Studies show that over summer vacation children, forget up to 25% of their reading and math skills from the previous year's learning, with the greatest losses in math, spelling and reading comprehension (U.S. Dept. of Education Study, 2001).

READ MORE: 21 tips to add math to your kids summer

Keeping children involved in learning during the summer months is important because it can help students start off on the right foot in the fall, and there are lots of fun ways to keep school skills honed.

Michele Veillon, commercial airline pilot, children's book author and mother, offers five tips to stop the summer brain drain.

1. Get Caught Reading. Many libraries have summer reading programs. Check with your local library and sign your kids up to keep their reading skills honed.

2. It's a Numbers Game. Kids lose math skills more than anything else over the summer. Games like dominoes are a simple and fun way to keep the numbers crunching. Try using a stopwatch to time races or swimming heats. These fun activities help kids stay sharp in the numbers game.

3. Take Educational Vacations. Find out what your kids will be studying in the fall and give them a leg up. Plan family vacations or field trips around these subjects. For instance, if your child will be learning about American history, maybe a family trip to Gettysburg is in order.

 READ MORE: More ways to prevent brain drain this summer

4. Surf the Web. If travel isn't an option, help your kids get on the web and find fun
activities to spark their interest in subjects like history or geography. Then suggest books that are related to their interests. Discovery Channel and PBS for Kids (http://www.kids.discovery.com, http://www.pbs.kids.org), FunBrain.com and LearningPlanet.com, are great websites to get the learning started. They'll be ahead of the game in the fall, and an appropriate amount of time on the Internet will also expand their computer literacy skills.

5. Get Active. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Keep your kids active! Burning excess energy helps young minds concentrate. Make these activities thought provoking and fun. Try building a fort with blankets and pillows and let your kids plan the construction. Sharpen your child's interpersonal skills with others by planning activities with neighbors or enrolling them in classes and camps.

Michele Veillon is the author of the award-winning, children's time-travel book, "Shelby and the Shifting Rings." The website for her book, http://www.shiftingrings.com, features fun games and interactive activities to spark kids' interest in history and reading.