Take Five for Education: Tips from UT on Summer Learning for Children

KNOXVILLE — Summer vacation will start soon for families across the country. Even though children are no longer in school, they can still continue to learn while taking part in daily activities with their families.

Sandra Twardosz, a professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers five ways for parents to incorporate learning into summer break.

“Summer is a good time for new learning and for reinforcing some of the knowledge and skills students acquired during the school year,” she said.

Here are five tips:

1. Learn Every Day — Help children use their reading, writing, math, science and social studies knowledge during household chores and activities such as grocery shopping, planning a budget and gardening. Church, community events, vacation trips and volunteer activities also offer opportunities for using school-based knowledge to accomplish practical goals.

2. Talk With Your Children — Talk to them frequently and for many different purposes to convey your interest in their concerns and opinions, build their vocabularies and communicate different types of information. As you try to solve everyday problems, put your thinking into words.

3. Promote Reading — Encourage reading for pleasure as a means of acquiring knowledge and practicing reading skills. Visit the library and bookstores often and support summer reading requirements of your child’s school. Remember children can practice some reading skills while using the computer. For more ideas go to: http://www.readwritethink.org/beyondtheclassroom/summer/.

4. Choose Summer Programs Wisely — Whenever possible, choose out-of-home care and summer activity programs that promote children’s curiosity, problem-solving, attentiveness and active learning. Some summer programs help children catch up on skills they will need for the upcoming school year. Take advantage of free community events designed to be fun and educational.

5. Plan Family Time — Strong family relationships can promote school achievement. Look at your family’s work and activity schedule and plan time to spend together doing activities everyone enjoys. Supervise and limit time spent watching TV and playing video games.

Twardosz, who also is the mother of twins, has conducted research on early literacy within the family and consults with Head Start on parent involvement in learning.


For media who would like to set up an interview with Dr. Twardosz, contact:

Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu