Headlines at Hopkins: news releases from across
university Headlines
News by Topic: news releases organized by
subject News by Topic
News by School: news releases organized by the 
university's 9 schools & divisions News by School
Events Open to the Public (campus-wide) Events Open
to the Public
Blue Jay Sports: Hopkins Athletic Center Blue Jay Sports
Search News Site Search the Site

Contacting the News Staff: directory of
press officers Contacting
News Staff
Receive News Via Email (listservs) Receive News
Via Email
Resources for Journalists Resources for Journalists

Virtually Live@Hopkins: audio and video news Virtually
Hopkins in the News: news clips about Hopkins Hopkins in
the News

Faculty Experts: searchable resource organized by 
topic Faculty Experts
Faculty and Administrator Photos Faculty and
Faculty with Homepages Faculty with Homepages

JHUNIVERSE Homepage JHUniverse Homepage
Headlines at Hopkins
Media Advisory

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

June 7, 2005
TO: Education reporters, editors, producers
FROM: Amy Cowles | (443) 287-9960 | amycowles@jhu.edu
RE: Summer learning tips for parents

Summer shouldn t be a time for academic backsliding, but summer learning doesn't have to be a chore for children or their parents, says Brenda McLaughlin, director of research and policy at the Center for Summer Learning at The Johns Hopkins University. In fact, favorite summer pastimes like backyard cookouts and trips to the beach are always opportunities to learn something new.

"Summer is an excellent time for informal education such as trips to museums, public libraries, and parks," McLaughlin says. "All parents can involve their children in fun, everyday activities such as cooking a new recipe or shopping at the local supermarket. These activities can help students practice their math skills, for example."

The center offers a few simple suggestions to foster summertime learning:

Reading and Writing

  • Read aloud to your kids or have them read aloud to you.

  • Let your child see you reading for pleasure.

  • Visit the local public library and participate in special summer reading programs there.

  • Subscribe to magazines and newspapers and talk about current events with your child.

  • Math and Science

  • Visit a local park and observe different types of rocks, animals, insects and leaves. If parents grew up in different parts of the United States or in different countries, talk about the differences in the types of plants and animals you can find where you live now versus where you used to live.

  • Hang a thermometer outside to track the temperature.
  • Observe weather patterns and make forecasts.

  • Plant a garden to show how seeds develop into plants and how fertilizer and weather can affect growth.

  • Participate in a local recycling program and talk about what would happen to the empty containers if you didn't.

  • Social Studies

  • Interview older community members about their lives and the history of the neighborhood. Ask them to compare the neighborhood they live in now to the neighborhood where they grew up.

  • Learn capitals, countries and continents by playing games and taking virtual field trips on line.

    Take field trips to museums, gardens, zoos and local history sites.

  • Make maps of your neighborhood and places you want to visit with your children.

  • Keeping young minds busy with activities such as these is imperative during the summer months to ward off "summer learning loss," or forgetting important skills and knowledge that they don't use when school is out. Students who take a break from reading during the summer score lower on tests at the end of their vacation than they did on the same test at the beginning of the summer. Typically, students lose one to two months worth of reading and math skills during summer break, and teachers often spend four to six weeks at the beginning of each school year re-teaching material that students have forgotten.

    "How children spend their time outside of school is critically important to their academic success," McLaughlin says. "During the school year, parents help their children succeed by checking their homework, reading to and with their children, and limiting the amount of time they watch television and play video games. Children need similar types of academic support during the summer. Regardless of which program or activity parents chose for their children, parents play a critical role in nurturing their children's natural curiosity to learn new concepts, skills, and information — during the summer and throughout the school year."

    To speak with McLaughlin, contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960 or amycowles@jhu.edu.

    Johns Hopkins University news releases can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/
       Information on automatic e-mail delivery of science and medical news releases is available at the same address.

    Go to Headlines@HopkinsHome Page