Learning not just another brick in the wall

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The irony of the Pink Floyd song lyric, “we don’t need no education,” has always puzzled me. If you’re still using double negatives, then it’s crystal clear that you do need an education. The arrival of summer should be used as a new adventure for learning. While the season provides us all with much needed rest, we should seize this free time for learning opportunities.

Our local libraries have wonderful summer reading programs and activities available for our children. Maintaining the habit of reading every day is essential for our children to retain their fluency and comprehension abilities while enhancing their vocabulary.

Intermediate to high school students have summer reading lists for which they’re held accountable when school commences. While reading this list of books is great, it should not be the only reading to which our children are exposed. Newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, etc. are also great reading materials for children. Allowing them the opportunities to select topics that appeal to their interests is the key to ensuring that your children become lifelong learners.

Incorporating writing into daily activities is also helpful. While I wouldn’t suggest having your child sit down to practice writing his or her alphabet, I would instead recommend letting them write the grocery list as you call it out. Making a list of items to pack for vacation is another useful idea. As your child works on completing his/her summer reading, have them write their thoughts about what they’ve read after every couple of chapters. Writing in response to reading is an excellent way to help children build their comprehension skills.

“Summer…it turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer….it’s like a merry-go-round….” This catchy little tune by the Cars was just a fun song to my friends and me many years ago, but today I’m surprised by how true the lyric is. We all climb on that merry-go-round of summer when school closes in May, and we all get off when school resumes in August. While we’re enjoying our lazy days of summer, let’s all remember that whether we’re on or off the merry-go-round, our opportunities for learning never end.

Next week, Herring will offer ideas for various games to help sharpen children’s math skills.