Lessons in retention: Parents can help young minds learn at home

Lessons in retention: Parents can help young minds learn at home

(NewsUSA) - As an adult, you may know that lessons learned in high school or college can quickly go by the wayside. Studies have shown that children struggling in school score higher on achievement tests in June than they do at the end of the traditional summer break. Even more concerning are findings that indicate how these learning losses can add up with each passing year. In fact, by the time they reach middle school, some students may experience a 2-year lag in reading achievement.
Even during shorter "breaks," parents should stimulate their children's minds through reading and learning games, during holidays, after school and on weekends. Experts have found that parents who incorporate learning toys and tools into everyday activities and playtime enable children to have fun while also learning lessons in physics, math, spelling and reading.
Beginning in the '80s, tech toys started to play a role in helping kids learn. Toys like Speak & Spell engaged kids in new, fun, interactive ways to learn spelling. In fact, teachers have found technology to be effective in the classroom, as well. One such tool, the Tag Reading System from LeapFrog (www.leapfrog.com/tag), is actually recommended by 99 percent of teachers to help kids learn to read. Best of all, parents can easily get it for kids to use at home, too, to reinforce learning. This handheld learning tool engages children in exciting, interactive ways. For example, every time a child touches the Tag Reader to specially printed books and materials, they can get on-demand pronunciation for individual words, listen to audio from characters and other story elements, and play fun activities that reinforce key skills such as comprehension and vocabulary development.
In addition to providing learning toys, parents can help their children retain learning in the following ways:
* Have discussions with children about what they are reading. Ask them to talk about books they enjoy, retell the plots, and discuss their favorite characters.
* Play board games and card games. While you enjoy valuable family time, you can help your child build skills related to problem-solving, memory, and comprehension
* Go online. There are a number of websites with games that help children build important spelling, reading, and math skills while they're having fun.

Dr. Carolyn Jaynes is LeapFrog's Literacy Expert, specializing in language and literacy development. With a PhD in Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education, Dr. Jaynes has more than 22 years of experience as an educator.