summer reading

In sports, taking time off from practicing makes athletes slow and flabby. The same is true when it comes to school.

Multiple studies have shown that students who don’t do any studying over the summer can face significant academic setbacks in the fall. In fact, a 2011 study by the RAND Corporation found that the average American student loses the equivalent of one month of learning in both reading and math every summer.

That’s why it’s so important to find fun, creative ways to continue learning throughout the summer. Here are eight ideas that you can try to avoid summer brain drain:

  1. Do Your Summer Reading Early
    Instead of putting off all of your summer reading until the last few weeks of break when your brain has already turned to mush, try reading a little bit each week to keep your brain in shape. You can even make a reading calendar for yourself with deadlines for when you will reach certain pages in the books you’ve been assigned and check your calendar each day and celebrate when you reach your goals.
  2. Start a Book Club
    Need some motivation to get your summer reading list finished? Why not call a couple friends from school and create a book club? Pick a date when you all agree you’ll read the book by, and then get together at someone’s house, order a pizza, and talk about the book. Sounds much more fun than doing it yourself, doesn’t it?
  3. Do the Crossword Puzzle
    Feeling bored during the day? Grab a newspaper and challenge yourself to finish the crossword puzzle. Not only do crossword puzzles test your knowledge of a wide range of facts, but they also force you to recall unusual words and keep your vocabulary sharp.
  4. Volunteer
    Instead of sitting around playing video games, why not find an organization that could use some help? Ideally, look for an opportunity that aligns with your future goals, so if you want to become a doctor, volunteer at a hospital or nursing home; if you’re interested in going into architecture, you can build houses with Habitat for Humanity. You’ll get the chance to adapt to a new environment, learn new skills, and think in new ways. Plus, it’s a great thing to put on a future resume! Check out this list of great volunteer opportunities.
  5. Read for Fun
    Yes, you read that correctly. Reading can actually be fun, especially when you’re not going to be tested on it. Head to the library and pick out something that interests you or ask a friend who enjoys reading to give you some recommendations. And it doesn’t have to be fiction. Check out some memoirs or biographies of people you admire to inspire you.
  6. Do a Project
    A great way to work on your planning and execution skills is to come up with a project that you’d like to complete over the summer. You could redecorate your room, build a bench, organize a fundraiser or plant a garden. You’ll be really proud of yourself when it’s complete!
  7. Explore Chicago
    There are so many amazing museums and noteworthy sites here in Chicago you could keep yourself occupied for weeks! Whether you take an architecture boat tour or head to the Art Institute, Adler Planetarium, or Field Museum, you can always learn something new. Just remember to check out parts of the museums you haven’t been to before and challenge yourself to take in new information. Click here for a list of Chicago museum free days.
  8. Take an Academic Workshop
    Another great way to keep your brain in shape over the summer is by attending an academic workshop to give you a leg up when you get back to school in the fall. At Educational Endeavors, we have a wide range of summer workshops including an SAT/ACT prep workshop, a writing workshop, a workshop to help you write your college essays, and study skills workshops for incoming high school freshmen or college freshmen.

Want to avoid summer brain drain? Sign up for one of our academic enrichment workshops this summer! Classes start the week of July 11.