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Monfredo: Summer Math Loss And What You Can Do About It!

Sunday, July 31, 2016


My crusade on the “Summer Slide” continues!  I would like to thank the readers for your emails on this topic and for your concern.   As you know I have advocated for years about the importance of having children read daily in the summer time.  In addition, the same can be said about the reinforcement of math skills. 

 According to research from such groups as the RAND Corporation, math skills decline more over the summer than any other academic skill. Some students lose up to 3 months of learning over the summer vacation period.  Math skills declined more than reading skills, since children were more likely to carry out summer tasks and activities linked to reading as well as many districts mayforget about giving parents reinforcement ideas for math in the summer time.   The loss of math knowledge affects every kind of student.  Whether you are a low-income child or a high-income child, you lose math knowledge or skills at the same rate over the summer if you don’t practice.

In addition, across the nation for a long time, summer learning programs have taken a back seat to more mainstream education reform efforts. Rather than rethink how summers could be used to support student success, policymakers have devoted their time and money to efforts to improve the traditional school day and year.   The major problem has been on funding for even in Worcester, due to a budget shortfall a discussion was generated on cutting next year’s summer programs.  “ Are you kidding?” We need to expand our summer program and not have summer school as an after thought.  More programs need to be supported but it won’t happen without the necessary funding. So this summer let’s see what can take place…

First of all students without access to summer learning programs can still effectively reduce the summer slide by using online math programs.   With web-based math instruction, students can utilize these programs as remedial tools, brushing up on last year’s lessons or getting a jump start on next year’s material, all on their own time. Internet access is all that’s needed for a math student to be completely immersed in a mobile learning environment, perfect for family road trips, long plane rides, or to mitigate rainy-day boredom over the summer break.

      Here are just a few sites to consider and also try exploring other sites, too: 

•    Khan Academy
•    lXL.com
•    edutopia.org/blog/summer-learning
•    10 Best math apps for kids
•    Coolmath-games free online
•    Math Magician



•    All Star math…. Whether cheering for Red Sox on TV or watching other sports, games are a perfect time to practice math. Try out some of these questions to promote your child’s math skills:

  -What shape is the field or court? How do you know?
  -How many more points does the losing team need to catch up?
  -How many players have scored points? What’s the average per player?
  -How much time is left in this half (or quarter)? How much time is left in the game?
  -If that player hits a three run homer, how many points will the team have altogether?

  •    How about card games?   Do you have a budding card shark in your family? Take advantage of  interest in games by playing a math card challenge!  Remove picture cards from the deck.
The Ace represents 1… evenly deal a deck of cards between two players and each player places one card face up.  The first person to call out the product (or sum/difference) of the two cards wins the hand.  The player with the most cards in the end wins.  You can play addition, subtraction or multiplication with this game. Example: 9 and a 7 = 63 or could be 16 or it could be 2.


  •    Driving … While driving in the car have mental math fun by asking your child to multiply, add, or divide numbers and make it a game.  Some other math activities you can do with your child in the car are… use a map scale of miles to estimate distances and travel times … how many miles per gallon does your care average on highways? In the city? … What are the highest and lowest gas prices you can find on your trip?  How much money can you save by filling up your car at the lowest price? … License plate math is also a good one for try having the children add or subtract or multiply or divide the numbers you find on license plates.  You can work with as many digits as you wish.  For instance, you might treat the first number on a license as a divisor and the next three numbers as a three digit dividend.  Remember to have fun with it!
  •    Then there is the Water Balloon Toss – Children love the water balloon toss! It can be a great way to practice math skills and cool off at the same time. Take turns throwing the balloon and challenging the other player with math facts. You might say, “4 x 6 = ?” When the other person catches the balloon, he or she must say the answer. Each time he or she answers correctly, the player must take a step backwards. How many equations can you solve before the balloon breaks?
  •    Tradition math …Of course there is still the math flash cards that can be done in the morning during breakfast time or at bed time or even watching T.V.


These are just a few games that can be played. If you want more just go to the internet and type in math games.  The bottom line… make fun math a part of your child’s day and it will pay big dividends this fall.

If any of the readers have any questions please e-mail me at [email protected] and I will get back to you.  Remember, a parent is a child’s first and most influential teacher so it’s up to you to continue the learning process in the summer time.


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