It may sound ironic, but the summer months are some of the most important in the school year. You read that correctly: the summer months play a vital role in a student's academic momentum and growth. According to data collected in 2020 through the MAP Growth assessments, students in 3rd to 5th grade lose an average of 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading over the summer months. Young elementary students are also, and perhaps even more so, at risk of suffering the "summer slide" because they are earlier in the development of their academic skills.
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Spice Up Summer Reading
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Reading on Screens
I might be the odd one out, but I hate reading on screens. Whether it's an article, a long PDF, a journal article, a short news piece, or a full-length book--I just don't like taking in important information or even reading for leisure on a screen. I've tried reading on my phone, a tablet, a digital/e-reader, laptop, and large desktop monitor, and they all seem to fall short of paper-based reading. Not only do I like the feel of holding paper or a book as I read, I also sense that something different is happening in my brain. I tend to skim and miss information when I read from screens, and I can tell that my brain assigns greater value (mental energy, focus, etc.) to paper-based reading.
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Helping Our Kids 'Reach for the Stars'
The Christian worldview paints a distinctly beautiful picture of purpose in each human's life. It holds adamantly to the notion that no one exists by accident or without God-given gifts, talents, or passions. Sometimes these gifts, talents, and passions are evident early in one's life--a six-year-old girl firmly committing to becoming a veterinarian, an eight-year-old boy knowing that he wants to design buildings when he grows up. For others, their interests are varied and they enjoy exploring a wide variety of topics. For many, discovering gifts and passions is a lifelong journey. But no matter what the journey looks like, having a foundation of God-given purpose and an understanding that each of us carries a calling (not just a career) serves to undergird every step of the way.
Parents raising young children are uniquely positioned to guide a child in the path that God lays out for their life. Whether a child expresses interest in being a lawyer, firefighter, zoo keeper, or homemaker, (or all of them at the same time!), parents are instrumental in helping students both discover and explore things they love--clues that can lead to God's calling on their life.
The following is an excerpt from a conversation with Dr. Laura Lopez, an associate professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University. Her story is a fascinating real-life look at what can happen when a child expresses a specific interest, is supported by a loving parent, and receives encouragement from role models along a difficult path. Her story speaks to the importance of allowing everyone to pursue their passion, and offers a glimpse of what can result for all of society when that happens.