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Tool: Parent summer transition letter

Research has shown that student learning gains achieved during the school year are normally eroded quite a bit by the ravages of a summer nearly devoid of intellectual activities. Consequently, anything that schools can do to keep their students' heads "in the learning game" is desirable. Some schools have found that a summer "transition letter" sent to parents in early June helps to fill this need.*

Amerman Elementary School in Northville, Michigan, sends out such a letter to the parents at each grade level. Here we present their 4th-grade letter as a sample for teachers to consider and to modify for their own situations.

Amerman School also sends out a Parents' menu* to provide topics for dinnertime conversations between parents and students.

Sample parents' guide to promoting summer learning

Dear Parents of Future Fourth Graders,

Congratulations on a successful third-grade year. Our fourth-grade team is looking forward to working with your child next year. In order to increase the probability that your child will be successful in fourth grade, we would like to recommend the following summer activities:

Reading/Language Arts

1. Join a summer reading program or read 1-2 books each month and share them with friends or family.

2. Keep a journal of major summer trips or events. Write a story and share it with someone.


1. Memorize your addition and subtraction facts and become familiar with multiplication facts 0-5.

2. Practice computation skills (addition and subtraction with two- and three-digit numbers).

3. Practice estimating travel distances, totals for grocery and restaurant bills, lengths of objects, etc.

Social Studies

1. Help your family plan trips to various Michigan tourist destinations and become familiar with maps of Michigan and its major cities.

2. Practice reading maps using symbols, legends, scale distances, etc.

3. Keep aware of current events and how they affect you by reading parts of the newspaper.


1. Visit a zoo and observe animals in their natural habitats. Make a list of some of the animals and describe their habitats.

2. Visit science museums: Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum, Detroit Science Center, Toledo Science Center, Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, etc.


1. Continue to practice typing skills through Typin' Time.

2. Visit Amerman's web page. There are links to many interesting web sites there. (www.northville.k12.mi.us)

Fun ideas/trips to increase general knowledge

1. Visit Mackinac Island, Monroe, Lansing, Greenfield Village, the Upper Peninsula, and all of the parades celebrating Michigan and its history.

2. Visit the DIA, the Natural Science Museum in Ann Arbor, and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

We're looking forward to our partnership next year.


The Fourth-Grade Teachers
Amerman Elementary School

*These documents were provided by the principal of the Amerman Elementary School, Stephen A. Anderson.