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Stay Vigilant: Create a Rich Summer Experience By Latasha Schraeder

As spring ends and summer break begins in earnest, our youth are so excited to have completed another academic year and settle into a much-deserved, lazy summer routine. We did it! The past few weeks have provided many memories in the form of prom photos, certificates from awards day ceremonies, and the receipt of millions of grant and scholarship dollars culminating in commencement ceremonies on graduation day. What a rush!

Allow your children to spend the first weeks of summer relaxing and unwinding from the last thirty-six weeks of academic rigor and learning. Down time is necessary to be able to eventually refocus and produce quality work. Take this time to reflect on both the school year’s successes and opportunities for growth.

Caveat: don’t allow your children to become complacent. After a period of rest and relaxation establish a daily time to practice fundamental reading and math skills. A commercial, pre-packaged curriculum is not necessary. Choose an age appropriate book from the local bookstore or library for your children to read for fifteen to twenty minutes each day. In addition, flash cards with basic math facts can be purchased at any discount store for a few dollars.

The goal is to increase your children’s fluency with reading and basic math facts. Again, a few minutes and a few dollars will make a huge difference. Make this small investment in your children. Sowing this small seed has the potential to produce a great harvest in the form of academic excellence.

Right now, it seems the first day of school is in the distant future. Trust me. The next twelve weeks will pass quickly. Use this time wisely. It can be fun to create a goal chart with your children. A chart and stickers or stamps can also be purchased at local discount stores for a few dollars. Set goals together. For example, you can reward your children for every 100 minutes spent reading or for every 100 minutes spent reviewing math flash cards. Have some fun! But, be consistent. I wish you and your children a beautiful summer.

Be your child’s best advocate.