Summer means fun. Families head to the beach, pool parties, and vacations. Also, summer camps. Cookouts. Late nights and warm days. Summer also means learning loss sometimes.
Call it the summer slide or summer setback, the meaning is the same. A break from school happens and some kids fall behind before the new school year arrives.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Parents can help prevent summer learning loss.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
The summer slide happens when kids lose academic skills and habits gained during the school year. This is because they’re not using their brains in optimum ways.
Kids must exercise their thinking skills on a regular basis. Just because school isn’t in session doesn’t mean children should stop learning.
Fun ways to prevent summer learning loss
Academic programs: What are some subjects or areas your kids would love to explore if they had more time? Summer offers that time. Astronomy? Coding? Music? Firstly, reach out to schools in your area. Both public and private offer a variety of summer classes. Some are partial day programs and others might be online to offer flexibility for working or vacationing families.
Check in with next year’s teacher(s): Schools want success for their students. Therefore, most happily supply a reading list, suggested movies/documentaries, science experiments and other lessons to prepare your kids for success next year.
Alternative book reports: If you’d like your child to demonstrate reading comprehension, there are many ways to do that. For instance, kids don’t have to sit down and write traditional book reports. Click here for alternative ways to summarize reading.
Camps and enrichment programs: Summer camps specialize in everything from STEM, individual sports and visual arts to humanities, team sports and performing arts. These annual offerings engage kids on social and academic levels. Above all, every subject keeps their brains working. The more fun, the better. Click here for some popular KidzToPros summer camps near you.
Vacations or Staycations: Every town is a treasure, whether home or away. Your kids can research the area and its history, landmarks or local points of interest. Contact museums, cemeteries, historical societies and libraries. Ask about student or family discounts!
Bridge Books: These can be found at used or local bookstores, larger chain grocery stores, or online. These books bridge the gap between the grade your child is leaving with the grade your child will soon enter. Lessons include reading, math, science and social studies.
Keep kids learning for free
Reading challenges: Local libraries promote fun reading programs and challenges. For instance, students read a certain number of books each week or month. Parents help them keep track and usually a prize is awarded. As a result, kids earn free books, tickets to sporting events, ice cream and more.
Journals: Encouraging your kids to write is the best way to prevent summer learning loss. In journals or diaries, they can document what they’ve learned or how they feel. They can also write movie and book reviews or lists of favorite songs and artists.
Free or Reduced Transit: Local buses or subway systems often give students free or reduced fare during summer months. Kids can use these services to visit parks, museums, aquariums, other family members, libraries, etc.
Everyday activities are also great ways for kids to prevent summer learning loss. They’re practicing math and reading skills, recognizing patterns, following directions and more without even realizing it.
- Grocery shopping
- Calculating family budgets
- Driving through town
- Scavenger hunts
- Camping in the backyard
- Arts & Crafts
- Playing with other kids
- Tree climbing
- Finger Painting
- Running a lemonade stand
- Playing board or card games
- Learning origami
- Community clean-ups
- Planting trees
- Joining a rec center or book store reading group
- Call and tour local factories
- Writing letters to friends and family
- Playing hide-and-seek
- Flying kites
In short, diligent parents can help kids from lagging behind an average of 1-2 months when school starts up in the fall. Stick to a schedule as often as possible. Combined with regular sleeping patterns and balanced diets, a schedule and enrichment activities prevent summer learning loss.
Have a great summer filled with learning!