The Season of Brain Drain

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Don’t push your kids down the Summer Slide

The average student loses approximately 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in math computation skills over the summer months, and teachers spend about four weeks reteaching materials that students have forgotten over the break. What’s a parent to do?

One way to target weak mental skills quickly and effectively is through an intensive LearningRx brain training program, says Tanya Mitchell, Chief Research Officer for LearningRx (www.LearningRx.com). “With our intense game-like exercises, we work on brain skills like logic & reasoning, attention, memory, processing speed, and visual and auditory processing. But, to help prevent the summer slide, parents and kids can use free, fun games and exercises at home, in the car, and even online.”

Here are just a few of the free and fun brain training games Mitchell recommends:

  • Mental Tic Tac Toe: Similar to traditional Tic Tac Toe, this game uses a “mental” grid numbered 1 to 9. Players remember where their opponent has already been and call out an unoccupied space. The player who calls an occupied space loses.

          What it helps: Attention, logic & reasoning, and working memory

  • Needle in a Haystack: Take a page from a newspaper and time your child as she circles all occurrences of a specific letter. Focus on increasing both accuracy and speed.

          What it helps: Visual processing speed

  • 20 Questions: Think of a person or object and give your child 20 chances to narrow down what you’re thinking of by asking yes or no questions. To help them improve their logic & reasoning, teach them to strategize by using questions that will significantly narrow down the categories, such as, “Are they alive?” or, “Is it bigger than you?”

          What it helps: Logic, reasoning, memory

  • Poetry: Have your child choose four words that rhyme and then ask them to use those words to create a poem or a rhyming song. Or say a word, then have them come up with another that rhymes. Keep this pattern going as long as possible, then start with a new word.

          What it helps: Auditory analysis, verbal rhythm, memory

Simply getting your child to read every day is another powerful way to slow the Summer Slide. According to Scholastic Parents Online, research shows that reading just six books during the summer can keep a struggling reader from regressing.

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