Everyone loves summer, a time for outdoor fun and of course, no school. But, without daily review of crucial skills, kids often experience what’s known as the ‘summer slide’ or summer learning loss. This gap in learning is even more obvious in low-income communities. This is why it's more important than ever to focus on ways to prevent the summer slide.
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Over the summer months, students forget many important things they learned the past school year. Teachers then have to spend time re-teaching these lessons and skills in the new year, before they can even begin learning new grade-level content. This is more than just a waste of time for both students and teachers, but it ultimately can cause your child to be multiple grade levels behind his or her peers by the 6th grade. As a newly hired elementary school teacher, this is very concerning for me as I prepare to welcome students in the fall.
However, the good news is that you can prevent the summer slide! Follow these easy tips to incorporate daily learning into your summer schedule and your child will be ready to face the new school year in the fall, all while preventing the summer slide.
Yes, summer is a time to relax, but a little bit of structure can go a long way in setting your kids up for academic success and in preventing the summer slide.
Create a calendar for their summer learning to ensure they stay on track. Pencil-in an educational summer activity for each day; this can be something as small as a nature walk or as big as a visit to a hands-on science museum. The options are endless!
Once your child completes the daily learning activity, they can cross it off the calendar. This fosters important developmental planning skills and allows your child to feel responsible for their own learning.
Daily reading is crucial to preventing the summer slide and even improves reading skills further, more than closing the gap. Just 20-30 minutes daily are all your child needs to reap the benefits of reading. Summer reading plans especially benefit low-income communities. Try these tips to make summer reading a bit more fun!
Storytime: Read out loud to your child, have them read out loud to you, or to their siblings. Be sure to read with appropriate inflection to model good reading skills!
Summer Reading Programs: Check out your local library to find information about their summer reading program. Chances are that they have a program designed to encourage kids to read during the summer months, complete with reading logs, prizes, and more! Libraries also typically have other fun programming during the summer, like storytime, STEM activities, shows, crafts, scavenger hunts, and more!
Bookclub: Join a local book club with your kiddos or start your own with friends! This not only encourages your children to share their thoughts and ideas about the book they are reading to promote reading comprehension but also fosters crucial social-emotional development that can slip when kids are not in school.
Have old childhood favorites laying around? Share them with your kids! Who knows, maybe you’ll have a new Little House on the Prairie or Judy Blume fan on your hands.
Just like reading, writing is a key skill that often slips during the summer months. Thankfully, there are so many fun ways to incorporate writing skills into your summer routine!
Pen pals: Do your kiddos know how to write and send old-fashioned snail mail? If not, encourage them to write and send a letter to a friend or family member! They can flex their creativity by decorating cards with stickers and markers or even picking out a unique postcard. Handwriting practice is built-in here as they write out a message. Show them how to address and send out their finished letter. Nothing’s more fun than sending out mail!
Journals: Encourage your kids to take some time each week to write about their summer fun. You can provide prompts if they’re feeling stuck- you can find a complete list of engaging journal prompts for kids! They can even decorate their journals for a personal touch.
The most important part of summer is play! Kids learn so much from independent and functional play and it can even contribute to their academic success by preventing the summer slide.
Dramatic play: Most early childhood classrooms have a dramatic play area, and for good reason! Incorporate this into your home with items you likely already have, like a play kitchen, costumes, puppets, play food, props, and more. Your kids can get involved in the creation too, for example, by making a blanket fort for a pretend campsite. Select items that go together to create a dramatic play area of your choice- the options are endless; think a pretend coffee shop, doctor's office, airport, or grocery store.
Games: Board and card games are great ways to encourage kids of all ages to play and even play together! Card games particularly are wonderful ways to sneak math skills into your kids’ day in a fun way.
Independent play: Allowing unstructured time for your kids to entertain themselves is important for their development and fosters crucial creativity. Basically, it’s okay to be bored sometimes! Whether alone, with friends, or with siblings, this free time to play allows space for kids to solve problems and fosters independent thinking.
No one loves doing worksheets in the summer, but STEM work can be fun too! These hands-on ideas incorporate science, engineering, technology, and math into creative projects your kids are sure to enjoy.
Cooking: Depending on your kids’ ages, let them help you cook or even let them try out something on their own. Measuring liquids and dry ingredients, adding or subtracting, and dividing fractions all are integral to cooking. Math is everywhere!
Experiments: There are so many at-home experiments that you can do with your kiddos. From the classic coke and mentos explosion and glitter slime made from glue and Borax to more complicated projects, like these yummy Solar-Powered S’mores!
Gardening: Get your hands dirty-plant some seeds, flowers, or even potted plants! This allows your children to experience the life of plants first hand and understand better how things grow, as they tend to their new plants.
Crafts: Companies like Green Kid Crafts encourage STEM learning thorough creative crafts shipped right to your door!
Has summer officially begun for you and your family yet? What are your plans to incorporate learning into your summer? Have you tried any of these fun ideas in hopes of preventing the summer slide with your kids? Let your friends and family know on FamilyApp!