How summer won't melt your child's brain

(WEAU) - A specialist for the Youth and Precollege Program says it’s a reality that kids lose skills such as spelling and math over summer. However, there are classes and reading programs throughout the area that can keep your child busy and wanting to learning more.

For the last several years, parent Jennifer Hughes has made sure her 1st and 3rd graders at Pedersen Elementary stay educated during the summer.

"Both our kids participate in the Altoona Rails Program which runs for 6 weeks out of the summer and they choose 4 different fun classes," said parent Jennifer Hughes.

Her kids also do the Altoona Summer Reading Program and Books in the Park, which gives kids one free book two Fridays in June and July.

"We realized that kids lose a lot of reading skills over summer and we wanted to give them an opportunity to get books over the summer and continue reading so when they come back in September their at the same level when they left in May," said Tara Betlach, organizer of Books in the Park

Libby Thurston with UW- Eau Claire Continuing Education feels summer is good time to take on a hobby that can incorporate academics.

“We have the Summer Institute that's for K through 5. We also have Brain Blasters specifically for middle school students and we try to provide really engaging activities, really enriching lessons," said Libby Thurston, Senior Outreach Specialist for Youth and Precollege Programs.

One Summer Institute class runs for two weeks for two hours a day, and costs 85 dollars. Kids from all over can join in the fun.

"We have a dinosaur class that a teacher goes out in advance and buries bones and the kids go out and have a dinosaur dig," said Thurston.

“I think it’s very important to keep them reading and working on their math, don't just slide backwards, you work so hard to improve their reading skills and then you don't want to lose that all summer long," said Hughes.

The specialist also recommends parents have their kid’s select five books to read throughout summer.

The Books in the Park program runs June 15 and 29th and July 13th and 27th. It is located at 10th Street Park in Altoona, and Mocha Joe, a therapy dog, will be there to listen to kids read.

Kids also can have summer reading mentors, which is provided by the Altoona School District. It involves volunteers delivering books to student homes throughout the summer.

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