How to get kids reacquainted with school after several days off

WASHINGTON — This Monday, it’s back to school for several children in the D.C. region, following last weekend’s blizzard and residual cleanup.

Of course, it could be tough for local students to get back into a rhythm after such a long break. Thankfully, there are some things students and parents can do this weekend to ease the transition.

“Carve out some time over the next few days and really turn those electronics off,” says Ann Dolin, president of Educational Connections Tutoring. “So many kids have been glued to TVs and cell phones for well over a week, and staring at these screens can release Serotonin in our brains and we can get addicted to that.”

To help, Dolin suggests doing an interactive activity to help students get used to reading words from a piece of paper. She suggests reading a magazine, recipe cards, doing a puzzle or playing a board game.

Many kids missed an entire week of school, right before end-of-semester exams. Dolin says this can affect how kids perform on these tests and standardized exams at the end of the year.

Citing a University of Maryland study, Dolin said third-graders with five snow days performed 3 percent lower on statewide reading and math tests at years’ end.

To minimize the impact of snow days, you should “have your kids go online to see what coming up, whether it’s a test or just homework,” Dolin advises. “Then ask your kids two questions: ‘What do I need to do?’ and ‘When do I need to do it?'”

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