Every kid relishes summer. No alarms, no bus to catch, and best of all, no homework. But come September, students have regressed, forgetting many of the skills they spent the previous year learning. It’s called the summer slide, says Richard Bernstein, director of the Huntington Learning Centers in Cherry Hill and Turnersville. “This is the reason you hear about the beginning of every school year being a review,” he says. “Students in younger grades especially lose those skills if nothing is done over summer break to keep up on them or improve.”
Building Skills in the Summer
Although summer is a time for relaxation, it’s also the perfect time to focus on building skills in reading, writing and math. “Now is the perfect time while school is standing still. Nothing is in the way. No sports, no other homework,” says Bernstein. “Students can give their full attention without other challenges and distractions.”
Huntington Learning Center h as various programs for students to prepare for the coming school year, which are available throughout the year, not just summer. Tutor ing is available in the core skills of reading, writing, math, phonics and test preparation, in addition to college entrance exam prep. From ages 5 to 17, students can get the extra help they need. Before beginning any program, students are evaluated, which provides a star ting point on their strengths and weaknesses.
“We never assign numbers to how much time a student needs to spend here,” says Bernstein. “ We have to look at individual factors, find out what the student is trying to catch up on, what they can do, what they can’t do.” This provides the best possible course of action and a quantifiable outcome. W hat’s more is that Huntington Learning Center has the data to back up its results. “On an average bas is, students who come to us for two to three months have a 26 percentile point gain in reading com prehension and a 19 percentile point gain in math,” says Bernstein.
SAT and ACT Prep
Gains can also be made for high school students who have those inevitable college entrance exams. Students who enroll in Huntington Learning Center’s SAT and ACT exam prep programs see a 200 point increase on their SAT score, and a 5 point increase on the ACT.
Summer college exam prep is key, specifically for two groups of students, says Bernstein: Those who are going to be seniors but don’t have the score they want, and rising juniors. “Too often we get juniors in the middle of their school year,” he says. “The second semester of junior year is the busiest time of high school, and starti ng SAT prep then is a difficult balance. If you wait until the beginning of your senior year, it’s too late.” Bernstein adds that there i s now a test 11 months of the year, with the new ACT added in July of this year. Those who deci de to prepare this summer can sign up t o ta ke the SAT at the end of August or ACT the weekend after Labor Day, before the new school year is in full swing.
The earlier the tests are taken, the better for college applications and tours. “ Picking a college is like buying a house. You want to know if you qualify for it, if you can afford it, if you can get in,” says Bernstein. “Taking the test early lets students know where they stand and then t hey can spend their junior year doing the appropriate research.”
And of course, as with anything in life, the better prepared you are, t he less stress and pres- sure you feel. “If they come to us after they’ve already taken the test, they feel more stress. Our No. 1 job is to reduce pressure, and our kids are a lot less stressed when testing time comes,” he says.
The Huntington Learning Center Difference
One of the most unique aspects of Huntington Learning Center is the individualized attention given to its students. “The evaluation is a baseline, and once instruction begins, the student is working one-on-one with teachers who are certified and highly trained,” says Bernstein. “We don’t do group tutoring because we all know when teenagers are in a room with their peers they are less likely to ask questions . With our method, their questions get answered.”
“Now is the best time to come in for an evaluation and enroll,” Bernstein says. “It ’s probably not at the top of a kid’s to-do list, but even a few hours a week will be of benefit.”
Huntington Learning Center
Cherry Hill | (856) 795-1933
Turnersville | (856) 227-0033
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 4 (June 2018).
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