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Top summer learning activities for teens

Sneak learning into your high schooler's summer days to prevent the off-season brain drain.

By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann

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Ramp up reading

Chances are your high schooler has a summer reading list — but don't stop there. Teens should read magazines, websites, and newspapers to improve reading comprehension, build vocabulary, and increase their knowledge of current events.

Now that your reading aloud days are mostly over, try a new spin. Let your child select a book for you both to read, then discuss how it to turn it into a movie: What actors would play the protagonist and the villian? How would you film the dramatic opening and closing scenes? If the book has been made into a movie, watch it together and discuss how the two compare. If your child has access to a movie camera and friends who are willing to act, encourage her to make her own film. 

If your child enjoys a certain book, encourage her to read another by the same author. Start with a riveting book series for young adults.

You may want to buy your child an E-reader, if you think it will boost her enthusiasm for reading. Another high-tech option: encourage your child to experience the classics via podcast. Open Culture has a terrific list of free podcasts. 

Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann is a freelance writer based in Detroit. She has written for  children's health and parenting magazines and blogs about both topics at Mom meets baby.

Comments from readers

"My son is going into the sixth grade this fall, my daughter entering the third. Since they began grade school, I have been buying summer bridge books. I don't force them to do it. Instead, at the beginning of each summer we agree on a prize that each of them will get if they complete each page by the end of the summer (they must work at it little by little, of course). The prize has always been something that I wouldn't buy them on just any ordinary day. This way, they feel that they are being rewarded for their work, and I feel that they are keeping their minds engaged with the least amount of pressure. "
"i woud like information about high school preparation. "
"My son is a high school senior. Since his elementary years, I borrow the following year's math book to review/study over the summer break. The school gladly gives the book with a small not that shows that we borrowed the book. My son, even though he doesn't like the idea,study this book everyday a little. Plus he reads lots of books (he loves books) and age-appropriate articles that I give him. Then he writes a brief reflection(not a summary)for the topic of the article. This way he gets ready for the following year. This way he always keeps his grades very high. This is very important: We start our summer program, especially the math not earlier than June 20. "