Involvement in Extracurricular Activities

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According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, students who take part in extracurricular activities are three times as likely to make higher grades in math and reading than kids who don’t. In addition to academic benefits, students also get an opportunity to experience teamwork, learn new skills and make friends through after-school activities. From middle school through college, opportunities for student participation in extracurricular activities vary widely to accommodate student interests.

According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, students who take part in extracurricular activities are three times as likely to make higher grades in math and reading than kids who don’t. In addition to academic benefits, students also get an opportunity to experience teamwork, learn new skills and make friends through after-school activities. From middle school through college, opportunities for student participation in extracurricular activities vary widely to accommodate student interests.

Sports

Extracurricular sports activities vary from school to school, depending on both interests and resources. Team sports, such as football, basketball, softball, volleyball and others, give kids the chance to learn teamwork and become part of a close-knit group. Individual sports, such as swimming, tennis, golf and others, allow young people the opportunity to perfect their skills. Schools run sports programs on a seasonal basis, a system that allows kids interested in other activities to pursue them. Another advantage of extracurricular sports, according to Education.com, is that it provides kids automatic access to exercise.

Music

Although music classes are a standard part of the curriculum, involvement in extracurricular music activities gives kids the chance to develop their talents and have fun with kids who share their musical interests. Some schools provide band students with the opportunity to be part of a pep band, jazz group, wind ensemble or other special performance groups. Orchestra members may form string quartets, trios and duos. Vocal music students can become part of a show choir or a madrigal group. All these groups usually perform at special school events or out in the community.

Speech and Theater

From a 30-minute minimal-set performance of a favorite fairy tale to a Broadway-style production of a popular musical, extracurricular activities provide kids the chance to become part of the theater life throughout the school year. Kids who don’t particularly seek the limelight of being onstage can participate as stage or costume crew members. Other speech activities might include speech choir, forensics and debate. Debate students compete throughout the year, usually as an extension of in-class activities and instruction.

Clubs

Aside from meeting kids with shared interests, the greatest advantage to kids participating in clubs is the chance to develop skills and learn more about a particular subject. For example, schools with foreign language programs often offer clubs for each of these. A student in a French club, for example, will practice speaking skills and also experience French cultural activities. Chess players always have a ready-to-play partner to challenge their expertise at chess club. Art club members may get more time to develop a project under a sponsor’s mentoring and may also visit museums and galleries.

Service Organizations

Service organizations provide kids with opportunities for lending a hand to other members of the student body, younger students in their district or members of the community. These service organizations sometimes operate under the auspices of an organization, such as the American Legion or Kiwanis. Activities might involve educational services, such as reading to preschoolers, tutoring beginning readers or teaching computer skills to older adults. Environmentally oriented organizations tackle such projects as cleaning up parks and volunteering at recycling centers.

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