Are your children counting the days till summer vacation? To a child this is a special time to lay off the homework, relax, and take part in hobbies or activities that they don’t normally have time for during the school year. Teachers too, look forward to a chance to recharge, come up with new ideas, and spend time with family. Parents, however may be worried about something that schools refer to as the “summer slide.”
The summer slide typically refers to a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session. According to All About Learning, numerous studies show that students who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability and math skills by the time autumn rolls around.
It makes sense really, that if we don’t practice something, (like our math facts, or sight words) for three months, that we may forget some of that knowledge. This means that for many students, the first few months of a new school year are spent relearning concepts that they lost over the summer months. How do we fight against this? Here are a few ideas to help parents keep their little ones on track for the next school year.
Read Every Day
One of the best ways parents can help their child avoid the summer slide is to read with their child every day. Go to the library or bookstore and pick out a few books that your child would like to read. In fact, now is a great time to find a book that maybe is a challenge or longer than what they would be used to reading for a book report in school. During the summer parents can read together with their child, swapping off pages to help with tougher passages.
If you are going on a road trip, get a few audio books that the whole family can listen to along the way. This is a good way to get some reading in and learn new vocabulary too!
Practice Math Facts
Maybe your child doesn’t want to pull out the flashcards during summer vacation, but there are some fun (and yes sneaky ways) to get some math in during a typical summer day. Find fun ways to use math wherever you can. Find math focused board games like Monopoly or Sequence that will get your child using numbers while making is enjoyable. Try cooking together from a recipe and have your child figure out how to double the ingredients or perhaps divide the recipe in half.
While you may not want to set up the test tubes and beakers, you can travel to science museums and take part in library STEM days throughout the summer. Check your local library for camps that are focused around science, technology, or engineering. There are also many Lego camps in our area.
Talk to your child’s teacher about what they may recommend for helping your child avoid the summer slide. She or he may have a reading challenge they are sponsoring or ideas on how to keep with the skills that were learned this year.