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By Renée Smith | j&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana

For many the first week of summer vacation has come to a close. What did your children do? Swim? Shop? Play? Stay up late? Sleep late? Have friends spend the night? Go to the movies?

Were you pleased with the end-of-the-year school report? Did your son and/or daughter achieve what you expected? Unless the answer is a resounding YES, do you have a plan for improvement?

Or are you certain that it will be better next year? And if you are certain, how do you plan to make that happen?

GreatSchools.org is a wonderful website that discusses many valuable and informative educational topics. Recently they published lists of skills that children who have completed each grade should have accomplished. I can’t list all of them, but will choose a few for each grade to provide an overall view.

Your about-to-be first grader should know and be able to write her name and address, write both lower and upper case letters of the alphabet, count to 100 by ones and tens, add and subtract up to 10, and know the relationship between letters and the sounds they make.

The soon-to-be second grader should be able to complete homework and return it to school the next day, write and spell untaught words correct phonetically, tell time to the hour and half hour, be able to see things from another‘s point of view, and understand and use prepositions and conjunctions correctly.

The new third grader should understand the basic concepts of multiplication, be able to use a dictionary, use an apostrophe to make contractions, revise and edit a piece of writing, correctly use irregular verbs, begin to reason and concentrate, and work cooperatively with a partner or group.

And the upcoming fourth grader should be able to multiply and divide single and multi-digit numbers, know multiplication tables, use linking words to show contrast, sequence and causation, read chapter books, understand how choices affect consequences, and be able to read materials to prepare for class discussion.

The skills I have listed do not include everything. I chose items that I suspect many parents may not realize are necessary learning skills. For example the ability to read and participate in a class discussion is not reflected on a report card; however, the information learned during the process affects other skills.

Studies have shown that over the summer elementary children lose up to two and one half months of math skills, and some students also lose two months of reading skills. Although everyone is still likely giddy with the new freedom of summer, we all know that the “there’s nothing to do” lament will begin soon. Or your children will disappear into cyber space.

A couple hours a week with a tutor could prevent that summer learning loss!

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