ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - School may be out for the summer, but fifth grader, Samantha Shockey is brushing up on her reading and math skills. It's part of Sylvan's Summer Learning Program.
Samantha had a tough time with academics, but now she's on the right track.
"During math I got really stuck on fractions and reading is what tricked me. I had problems with word problems," said Samantha Shockey, fifth grader with Sylvan Learning.
"I really wanted her to start next year fresh and feel as prepared as she possibly could be," said Lynn Chairs, Samantha's mother.
Educators say it's important for students to keep reading and working on math during the summer months. Researchers say more than half of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading is due to unequal summer learning opportunities.
"Kids are learning all year long and then we give them eight to ten weeks off in the middle of the summer and this does not make a whole lot of sense so we want to make sure children's brains don't get flabby during the summer time. We want them to be learning," said Dr. Rick Bavaria, Senior Vice President Sylvan Learning Center.
The National Summer Learning Association and Sylvan Learning Center say parents should engage children by visiting local libraries, the zoo or the grocery store.
"Summer learning is critical. You think of the cost of summer learning loss that most kids lose over two months of math skills over the summer. Low income kids lose more than two months of reading skills as well," said Gary Huggins, CEO National Summer Learning Association.
Once school starts in the fall, Samantha will be ready when it comes to academics.
"The subjects are more clear to me and now that I have worked on my reading it is making more sense in math," said Shockey.
The National Summer Learning Association and Sylvan Learning say it's important to make sure that summer is a good balance of free discovery, play, leisure and learning for kids.
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