Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to Avoid "Summer Brain Drain" and Other Smart Strategies

It’s often called “summer brain drain” by many teachers. The term describes the loss of learning that occurs in children during the summer break from school, a very real and annual concern for teachers as well as parents. What can parents do to help their children avoid this?

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been talking about this topic with my young students in grades 2 through 5 as the end of the school year has been fast approaching. Some suggestions and resources were also provided for the children and their families.

One bright-eyed, third grader described how he keeps his skills sharp over the summer. Tyler told the class that at the beginning of every summer, his mother purchases a skill-building workbook for his next grade level. She also buys one for each of his brothers, and they work together in their respective books several times each week. It is no surprise that all three children are successful in school. This is just one way of keeping “summer brain drain” at bay.

Other strategies can also promote skill building and retention over the summer. Many of them are available at low or no cost. Just a little effort and forethought might be needed. Here are just a few:

1. Encourage your child to read often. Surround your child with books wherever and whenever possible. Regular visits to your local public library go a long way in establishing good habits of life-long reading and learning. These visits can also be great opportunities to spend quality, family time together---and the price is certainly right!

2. Set aside time each day to read to your child. This will show him that reading is very important to you and your family. It will also increase a child’s desire to read independently. Consider a “family reading time” for obvious, additional benefits.

3. Promote reading in the many things you already do with your children. Ask them to read street signs, menus, game directions, cereal boxes, and other items. This will demonstrate that our world provides much information and opportunities through the reading of words and text. It will also promote independence.

4. Consider providing a journal for your child, a place where she can write about the books she is reading during the summer. You might recommend that she write an alternative ending to a favorite book. Looking back through the journal at the end of the summer will remind her of all the reading she has accomplished in only a few weeks. She will also have improved her critical thinking and writing skills.

5. Do you have a reluctant or struggling reader? You might suggest books (at first) with a few more illustrations and a little less text per page. Another idea to consider: audio books (also available at your local library). If you discover that your child learns best by listening (an auditory learner), this approach will be a very good idea. Share this discovery with your child’s teacher when the fall semester begins. It will be helpful information for that teacher and invaluable for your child’s future classroom success.

So, you can do much to help your children “stay sharp” over the summer months. Just think ahead, plan, and be prepared to have a wonderful summer of reading together! Next fall, your children will thank you (and so will their teachers)!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Reading Focus Card Receives Prestigious Award

We at Brennan Innovators, LLC are more than pleased that our product, the Reading Focus Card Combo Pack (Patent 7,565,759), recently received the outstanding Kidlutions Seal of Approval. On April 25, 2011, the Reading Focus Card Combo Pack of sensory-appealing focus tools for struggling readers was distinguished with this award. The Kidlutions Seal of Approval is only awarded to products that solve problems for children, parents, educators and others as well as change lives!

We are very proud and grateful to receive this award. We wish to thank Ms. Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, and her team of mom-reviewers for evaluating the Reading Focus Cards and for making the decision to award this Kidlutions Seal of Approval to our product for struggling readers.

We invite you to read the blog article written by Ms. Young at Feel free to enter your own comments if you, your child, or someone you know has benefited from using our Reading Focus Cards. We will appreciate your comments!

To read testimonials from teachers, parents and students who have used the Reading Focus Cards, please visit

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