TODAY

TODAY   |  June 28, 2013

Keep your kid’s brain active this summer

Middle school teacher Jessica Lahey and psychologist Jennifer Hartstein discuss the “summer slide”: kids losing months of learning over the summer. They share tips and book suggestions to get your kids reading this summer so they’ll do better when they return to school.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

balm from l'oreal total repair 5 school's out for summer

>>> we're back with this try-day friday. it's no surprise kids who read during summer break do better when they return to school in the fall. how do you prevent what they call the summer slump.

>> here with some suggestions to keep your kids' minds active are middle schoolteacher and mom jessica leahy who writes about teaching and parenting parentinparenting @jessica parenting @jessicaleahy didn'tcom.

>> and jessica hartstein.

>> we always had summers off. it was one of those things kids looked forward to it and you remembered the slow start when you went back to school. kids really do lose a lot. what do they lose?

>> there's a huge catch-up period. you get back at the, in august, and you spend a good month just getting everyone's brains turned back on.

>> reminding them of --

>> i'm not just talking about skills. i'm talking about the ability to focus, the ability to sort of get back in the groove of paying attention.

>> now you say that, if that happens, by the time they are in sixth grade, tell us the -- that scenario.

>> with summer lost it looks like we get about two months by the end of sixth grade, kids have lost about two months worth of academic achievement because they are losing about two months each summer for math and 2.6 months each summer for --

>> so it's two years.

>> but you get two years of lost cumulatively.

>> two years.

>> that's unbelievable. a lot of parents want to stop this. this is the way the system is set up. we were saying we don't think it's a great idea there are summers off. what can you do to help your kids not get lost in this?

>> there's lots of things we can do. some of it is basic. math and reading gets lost. what can we do for math? we can do some things like go into the newspaper and really hit a home run with math. do baseball statistics . look at your local team. you know, look at who is getting what and what's their percentage and look at those kinds of things with them. and start to do fun math activities. what other math activities that don't feel like learning but actually are.

>> make it fun.

>> entertaining.

>> adding up the numbers on the speed limit signs on the road. there's actually "the new york times" has a great resource called the learning network. and you can go there all of the -- all of the articles are free through the learning network and you can take little quizzes about stories in the news. but read the news or something with your kids every day.

>> our kids always had required summer reading . does -- do all schools have that or --

>> some schools do.

>> that seems natural. you have to have these books read. these books read by the time you come back to school.

>> you were saying if you were going to choose six books for kids , what would be the right books for them to read?

>> i chose five books, and that's a hard task to come up with five books for k through high school but i did my best. i chose for kindergarten/first grade "chrysanthemum. "i tried to go for booxs about the joy of language and naming things and figuring out your identity. "chrysanthemum" is great for k through 1. "frindle." for second and third grade which is about naming as well. and then i picked a fantastic book that not many people know about yet called the "expeditioners." it has amazing illustrations. the illustrator kathryn roy went to -- or works at the center for cartoon studies . and the author sarah stewart taylor. i picked "wonder", which is a fantastic book about a boy with a facial deformity, figuring out how to go back to school. and i did a blanket book for high school but "the book thief" thinking that was just a fun, engaging read.

>> how do you get your kids to read?

>> you have to mod tele. you have to show them that you are reading, too. everybody can read the newspaper together. everybody can pick a book and have reading time together when they are sitting outside right after dinner, right before dinner. but modeling the behavior will get your kids to be engaged.

>> the whole thing started because kids were needed to help their families with the harvest. that's why they were out for three months. i don't know too many people that harvest anymore. i think in some areas i think we're doing a tremendous disservice and parents who -- two parents working, what do you do with your kids?

>> the loss is palpable. there are small changes you can make that can actually prevent it from being so bad so when they start back up in school at the end of the summer , they