Summer Slide- the term used to describe students losing academic growth- is a concern shared by parents and teachers. It’s unfortunately not uncommon for students to lose up to 25% of their school-year gains over the course of the summer break. Especially after the challenging spring semester, it’s especially crucial for students to be adequately prepared for their next grade level.
Luckily, there are abundant resources at our fingertips. Here are some ideas designed to keep young minds learning.
Read. Research shows that independent reading for 20 minutes a day is enough to maintain comprehension and decoding skills. At this rate, elementary students should complete about six books during summer break.
- Choosing age appropriate books- those which are not too easy or too hard- is the sometimes a challenge. To do so, seek recommendations from friends, your local librarian (most likely, digitally), or your child’s teacher.
- GetEpic is a vast digital library for young students. Books are grouped by age, interests, language, and award winners. With over 40,000 titles available, there is something for everyone. The website offers a free 30 day trial to get started.
- Audio books are great for substituting “read aloud” titles: books that a teacher would read to the class, but that may be above students’ individual reading levels. Listen to a book during long car rides, or make cuddling up on the couch an evening tradition for the family.
Write. Typically, kids aren’t excited about recreational writing, which is just the reason to get creative.
- Gift your child with a fun summer journal to document the day’s activities and thoughts. Consider using a daily question to prompt a few sentences.
- Put a positive spin on social distancing by helping your kids discover letter writing. Arrange with a friend or family member to become a pen pal. Your child will continue to practice writing, and they’ll love getting mail.
Discover. Depending on your location and circumstances, travel may be limited this summer. Visiting different areas is a great way to keep brains occupied, and the good news is- you can still go (from the safety of your living room).
- Countless destinations are offering free, virtual tours. Choose a place such as Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, the British Museum, or the San Diego Zoo. After the tour, talk to your kids about what they saw; color a handmade postcard, or find a corresponding book to read.
Practice. Many academic skills are already there, but they need to be practiced in order to stay retained.
- The Homer app, created for kids ages 2-8, offers personalized learning related to reading skills and success. They offer a free 30-day trial, and the monthly or yearly subscriptions. The app is well loved by kids, is easy to use, and has been featured in several renowned publications.
- Put a summer spin on any simple concept by adding chalk. Whether your child is practicing lower case letters or solving a long division problem, colorful chalk and some sunshine makes it fun and different.
- Bring measurements and math to life by baking a recipe together. It doesn’t feel like homework, and there’s a delicious payoff.
When it comes to maintaining academic skills, consistency is key. These tips will help you find some creative ways to keep your young ones learning.