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It may seem that summer vacation has just begun. However, most kids have been away from academia for over a month. Before you know it, they will be returning to school. In just a few weeks your bright-eyed babes will be anxious about new curriculum and attempting untrodden scholarly exercises. It’s important they are prepared and confident when starting the new school year. If children feel educationally empowered, they will do better both academically and socially.

Spending about thirty minutes a day on math and language arts skills will ready kids for the coming school year. Thirty minutes is a rule of thumb and it is perfectly understandable that sometimes other obligations take precedence. However, if you attempt some review at least a few times a week, your efforts will pay off. Come September, your child will be ahead of the game with sharpened academic skills and high morale. As important, they are learning an invaluable life skill of practice equals preparedness. The old adage still holds true, practice really does make perfect.

Where to begin? There are numerous grade-leveled workbooks and enrichment material at your local bookstore. Or you can go online. For instance, has – you guessed it – cool math games and other fun brain-teasers. Also, has reading surveys, word problems, creative writing prompts and a lot more.


When or where your kids rev up their educational muscle isn’t important – in the car, at the park or on the couch is fine. The value comes from progressing at the appropriate grade level and keeping the review stimulating. To choose the proper material, take another look at your child’s last report card. There should be ample information on proficiency levels and what skills need improvement. One way to figure out if your child is able to read a book independently, have them read about 20 words out loud. If they miss more than a few, it may be a bit difficult. Read the book together or read it aloud. The children’s librarian at your local library can also help you determine a book’s grade level. Visit for a plethora of summer reading ideas and book reviews.

Reading aloud the classics can be entertaining and enlightening for the whole family. Discussing the stories, making predictions and clarifying difficult words increases comprehension.

A summer journal and/or writing letters to friends and relatives strengthens printing, cursive, grammar and vocabulary development.

Coordinating and supervising these educational adventures takes time. If your schedule is too tight, you may consider procuring a tutor. Kids often respond better to those outside the family. Ask a local teenager if they would be willing to practice with your child. Some libraries and community centers have tutoring centers as well.

It’s not difficult to conclude that children prepared for school will have more success and students who are successful in school are offered more opportunities. So, purchase the new backpacks and school clothes, but also continue to give the gift of education throughout the summer months.

Contact Margaret Lavin at


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