Wyoming Department of Education helps parents combat summer brain drain

2013-06-21T20:00:00Z 2013-06-25T14:10:30Z Wyoming Department of Education helps parents combat summer brain drainBy AERIN CURTIS and BECKY ORR Wyoming Tribune Eagle Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE – Some call it the brain drain. Others have dubbed it the summer slide or the summer slump.

Whatever the name, the loss of learning that occurs among children every summer is a setback for kids.

The Wyoming Department of Education wants to help stop the loss. The agency is offering parents and kids the chance to participate in two free summer online programs as remedies.

The programs are called “Find a Book, Wyoming” and “Summer Math Challenge.”

Parents can access “Find a Book, Wyoming” at any time. Parents, educators and K-12 students can build custom reading lists in this program based on their interests and reading levels, according to Julie Magee, administrator of the agency’s standards and accountability division.

Students can take the lists to their libraries to find the books.

The math challenge is a skills maintenance program for kids who have completed the second through fifth grade.

The program’s goal is to help kids retain math skills they learned during the previous school year.

Parents enroll their kids in the math challenge. They receive daily emails with activities to help children retain math skills.

The math challenge starts Monday and ends Aug. 2.

The education agency partnered with MetaMetrics and the Council of Chief State School Officers to offer the

free initiatives.

The math challenge will use a student’s math score to produce activities tailored to each one’s math ability, based on information in a media release.

The math problems are aligned to grade-level state standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

Summer learning loss is well-documented. A national study in 1996 found that children lose about two months of learning in math computation skills over a summer.

In reading, low-income children can lose about 2.6 months of learning, while those from the middle class made slight gains.

Magee taught school for 10 years and heard teachers often say they spent the first two or three weeks of the school year reviewing materials that students should know.

Reading and mathematics tend to be foundational skills that help students in all of their subjects, Magee said. “It’s really important to read and challenge yourselves at least a little over the summer so you don’t lose what you gained over the previous year.”

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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