Dear BMEC/W Families:
As we wave goodbye to our students tomorrow as they head off for summer vacation, we
bid farewell to some of the gains made in reading, writing, and mathematics. According
to educator Meg Lundstrom, “The Summer Slide is well-documented by research: Unless
students read regularly (or are read to) during break, they fall behind an average of three
months or more in their reading achievement.” We see the same effects in mathematics
with loss of computational fluency. Just by playing math games that they have learned
this year, will help promote automaticity with basic skills.
Our team’s goal this year focused on improving student performance in Reading, Writing,
and Mathematics while also monitoring growth in all the other disciplines. At BMEC/W, our
faculty analyzes data regularly to check on student performance and adjust instruction.
We have data team meetings that study longitudinal data to help us frame our school
goals for the next day, week, month, and year. Through this careful analysis of data, we
have seen that children sometimes lose ground over the summer. In looking at the DIBELS
& FORSIGHT results, we have seen a trend where children make measured growth from
September until May and then many slide backwards after the summer.
So how can parents continue to support the team over the summer so the slide doesn’t
turn to a plunge? Reading expert Dr. Richard Allington from the University of Tennessee
reports, “The good news is that the latest research shows children who read at least four
books over the summer maintain or even increase their skills.”
Blue Mountain School District supports summer learning in Reading, Writing, and
Mathematics by providing valuable information on our website (www.bmsd.org) for
parents. There are reading lists along with other website links you can adventure onto for
more summer learning. Children love to learn and should continue learning over the
summer! Enjoy every minute of it. Look for educational moments all around – in the back
yard, in the kitchen, on road trips and vacations.
Here are a few more ideas:
READ! – Read aloud as a family, be a reading role model, go to the library often (or a
great bookstore), find out what your child is interested in and explore it with a book, and
read wherever you go!
GET OUT THE GAMES – Boggle, scrabble, and the thesaurus games build literacy while
yatzee, dominoes, and card games build numeracy. Board games are great ways to
promote social skills too!
TAKE TIME TO PLAY – This is a great time after a long winter to get out and play. Physical
fitness is essential! Take advantage of those great Blue Mountain Recreation programs
and camps. Encourage your child to try something new – a new sport, a new game, or a
new craft. Send kids on a scavenger hunt. List things that are easy to find outdoors – it
can become a science exploration! Put on a neighborhood play or readers theater with
scripts, costumes and props – great entertainment for all.
WRITE, DRAW, and BUILD – Keep in touch and send us a letter and tell us about your great
summer adventures or document them in a journal or scrapbook with some pictures too.
Use that visual spatial intelligence by drawing pictures, creating 3-D sculptures, building
with blocks and legos, or building models or rockets.
CHORES – BUILD RESPONSIBILITY – Empower children by giving them responsibilities around
the house or in the garden that they can be proud of. Too often we do everything for our
children. Experts say chores are essential for children, whether it’s taking out the garbage,
setting the table, or feeding a pet. They feel that they are giving back and contributing to
Thank you for your support and trust in the team at BMEC/W. It is a pleasure working with
your children each and every day.
Best wishes to our fifth graders who are moving on to Blue Mountain Middle School, and
good luck to our families who are moving – we will miss you all!
We will have a smooth transition into next school year. I look forward to seeing many of
you back at BMEC/W on August 26, 2013.
Phil Jackson, basketball coach, once said: “The strength of the team is each individual
member. The strength of each individual member is the team.”
Heath W. Renninger