8 Fun Ways to Help Kids Beat the Summer Slide
For most children, summer is a time to leave classes and homework behind. However, when they return to school in the fall after the long summer break, students can find themselves struggling to catch up.
Skills and knowledge gained throughout the school year fade during the summer months. According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer learning loss over the elementary grades piles up and can impact whether a child ultimately earns a high school diploma and continues on to college.
For children who have been struggling at school, summer can be their opportunity to catch-up on key skills and feel more confident when they head back to class. For students who do well, it’s an opportunity to keep their enthusiasm for learning high.
Parents can play a key role in reinforcing learning on an ongoing basis. Here are some practical tips for integrating summer learning learning into fun, family activities:
1. Read with your child.
You can’t start too early. You can’t read too much. Reading to young children nurtures and interest in language, words and communication. Read the books together with your children and ask questions about the plot and characters.
2. Create a reading list.
There are an abundance of sites that provide summer reading lists for children. At www.BookAdventure.com, children (K-8) create personalized book lists from more then 7,500 recommended titles, take quizzes on the books they’ve read at school or at home, and earn points toward small prizes for understanding the books they’ve read.
3. Plan a field trip.
Plan a trip to an interesting site close to home – an historic site, a museum, the zoo, etc. Research the trip in advance with your child and discuss it afterwards.
4. Find pen pals.
Encourage your child to write notes and letters to family members and friends as a way to practicing writing.
5. Plan a meal together.
Helping mom or dad with the regular grocery shopping and meal preparation creates opportunities to use math skills such as making change, weighing fruits and vegetables, etc.
6. Visit the library.
Libraries can recommend books appropriate for your child’s reading level and interest. Check out the AFLAC Vacation Reading program at the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries. Also, check out the summer reading programs at the Phenix City-Russell County Library in Phenix City, the Harris County Library in Hamilton, and the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library in Opelika.
7. Keep a journal.
Give your child an empty notebook to keep a summer journal. Regular entries will keep writing skills active.
8. Sign up for a summer enrichment program.
There are a variety of enrichment programs available in the Chattahoochee Valley. See our Summer Camp Directory for some options.
Editor’s Note: The Muscogee County Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy provides free books to children in Columbus from birth to the age of five. Learn more about the program by visiting the website and share their Facebook page with others (http://www.muscogeecountyferstfoundation.org).