Keeping skills sharp during summer, part 1
 
         With the school year coming to a close, parents, teachers and children alike have their minds on the summer. You can bet that not each of these parties has exactly the same thoughts about summer. But now is a good time to consider this one: how will your child maintain his academic skills so that he will be prepared for the next school year?

         Your first stop is a brief meeting with his teacher. The teacher will be able to inform you if he has mastered all the skills necessary for his grade level and what needs to be done to be ready for the next one.
 
         This is a very busy time of year for teachers. By all means, make an appointment for this meeting. You can expect that the teacher will be able to help you out in this regard, but (s)he also needs time to be prepared to help you and your child in the best way.

         If the teacher can explain the skills that need to be maintained, take that information to your nearest educational supplies store and ask the clerks there to help you find materials to use for working on these skills.

         In addition to academic skills, look for ways to broaden your childís repertoire of activities so that he can become more well-rounded. There may be areas in which your child excells, such as art, music, gymnastics, or nature study, but for which there is not sufficient time to explore or enhance during the school year. The summer can be an ideal time to work on these areas of interest.

         Ask for specific activities that you will be able to do with your child, keeping in mind that there is a variety of ways that certain skills can be improved. If, for example, your child needs practice retelling the sequence of events in stories that she reads, note that this skill can be practiced equally with television shows and movies that you watch together, as well as books read.

         In next weekís column, I will give you several ideas for maintaining skills during summertime activities.

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents

 
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