web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Beating Brain Drain

Schonfeld-logo1

For children, summer means outdoor sports, picnics, and of course, no school! Teachers and students work hard all year long – and everyone deserves a break from education over the summer. However, this two-month break can often have some pretty devastating consequences.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that children tend to lose approximately two and half months worth of material over the summer. That is, rather than retaining the material they have mastered during the school year, students who do not flex their academic muscles over the summer revert back to the skills they had in April as opposed to June. Researchers call this phenomenon “summer brain drain.”

In The New York Times, Harris Cooper of Duke University notes, “There is growing concern about the summer vacation’s possible negative impact on learning. Many educators argue that children learn best when instruction is continuous. The long

summer vacation disrupts the rhythm of instruction, leads to forgetting, and requires time be spent reviewing old material when students return to school in fall.” That means that without any intervention, children can begin the next grade reading and doing math at a lower level than the previous year. Additionally, because reading and math are cumulative subjects, when the students have to relearn what they have previously mastered, this further sets them back.

Often, it is the students who can least afford to lose the reading gains they’ve achieved during the school year who fall the farthest behind when they return to

the classroom after a summer away from formal literacy instruction. On the other hand, studies have shown that with a minimal amount of effort on the part of parents and children, it is possible to have modest gains in skills over the summer. What this means is that over the course of grades one through six (when basic skills are ingrained and solidified), summer loss or gain can contribute to more than a year and a half decline or growth in skills.

Battling “Summer Brain Drain”

So, how can we as parents and educators ensure that our children continue to use their brains over the summer, but do not regard the reading and math that they do as “work?” How can we teach our children that learning can and should take place outside of the classroom in addition to in the classroom?

Choice. Usually in school, children are forced to read the books that their teachers assign, whether the subject appeals to them or not. Denise Pope, a co-founder of Challenge Success, a research and student intervention project, explains that motivation plays a central role in engagement with learning and, subsequently, student achievement. If students are given choice and voice in the learning process, for example, they are more likely to want to learn the material and more likely to retain it. Therefore, allow your child to choose his own reading material over the summer – and offer a wide selection so that he can find books to his liking. Give your child plenty of choices when it comes to topics to read about – but don’t assume that you know what she is interested in reading. Elementary-aged children jump from one interest to another with lightning speed.

Goals. In order to keep her motivated, give her a target number of books she should read. For instance, she should read five books over the summer to maintain any progress she made in reading during the school year. Work on getting her to read twenty minutes each day, steadily increasing to thirty minutes by the end of the summer. This reading time can be done after “bedtime” when your child would normally be asleep, making her feel like reading is a special privilege.

Involvement with others. Everything is more enjoyable when you do it with someone else – learning included. Adults have book clubs to discuss literature and men learn with chavrusahs. Reading often seems like a solitary experience, but it need not be that way. There are many ways to guarantee that reading can be a shared experience: read with your child, set up a literary café with her peers (complete with book themed foods), and find reading opportunities around you on the street.

Switch off. If she has required summer reading, be sure to balance the books she is interested in with the reading-list books. Have them both on hand so that she can switch between them.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Beating Brain Drain”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Occasionally, a teacher will encounter a student who simply cannot be motivated to do his homework, finish his worksheet or study for a test.

Kupfer-030615

Times have changed and divorced people have sadly gone from being singularities to almost a sub-community.

Glimpses-logo-NEW

The ship’s captain apparently respected the Friedenwalds’ strict adherence to halacha because he allowed them to use his cabin for davening and other religious observances.

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Occasionally, a teacher will encounter a student who simply cannot be motivated to do his homework, finish his worksheet or study for a test.

Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

Pioneering authors Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, in their book Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, outline the ways that we employ executive skills regularly.

Because I get phone calls about this all the time, I have put together a quick “cheat sheet” with milestones for reading, writing, and math from first grade through high school.

The reason behind this is that when we ask our brains and bodies to make drastic changes, our fight or flight response kicks in and we become paralyzed.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/beating-brain-drain/2013/06/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: