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May is one of the most beautiful months in Adams County. Take a drive in any direction and you’ll see our abundance--the redbuds bursting on the battlefield, apple blossoms abounding in the orchards, mountains and fields greening. May reminds us, too, that school will soon be out for the summer. Kids will be everywhere outside—playing, biking, swimming, swinging, sliding and sliding. The summer slide, or brain drain, is a real phenomenon. It’s what happens when students aren’t exercising their brains for three months; they unlearn much of what they were taught over the school year. When they return to school in the fall, they are behind the curve and spend precious class time catching up. Kids who struggle with reading or math experience a sharper decline in skills than those who are more proficient. Particularly hard hit are young people from low-income or single parent homes. They don’t have access to summer camps, museums, libraries or other community-based resources. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have shown that the effects are cumulative; children lose roughly two months’ worth of learned skills each summer which leads to a significant learning gap over the course of six elementary school years. Here are tips for creating positive and fun summer learning adventures for your children: ·

Look for local organizations like the YWCA and Manos Unidas for safe, structured and stimulating summer activities. Visit the Adams County Library and take advantage of the wonderful children’s programs; get your child a library card and let them pick books to read together. ·

Engage your children in games that use their skills—let them create their own skits or music or comic books. Practice math at the grocery store or at the ball park. Have them teach you something they know how to do and you don’t. ·

Keep a regular routine and look for volunteer opportunities that teach the importance of giving back. Call Vickie for things to do. ·

Talk with your child’s teacher to see what skills are needed for success in the next grade. Encourage your child to learn 24/7. Help them succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, work and life.
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