Summer Slide Prevention

Sunday, May 8, 2016
I often have parents ask me how they can keep their child's knowledge strong over the summer without burning them out.  Especially those that struggle a bit.  Well I have compiled a list to help you out to prevent the dreaded summer slide...

One of the most important things I tell parents is :  READ to them and have them READ to you!  { Ideally 15 - 20 minutes a day }  Even your youngest learner can look at books and have quiet time while looking at pictures of books and making a story up if they aren't fluent yet.  I would have my kids 'read' to their stuffed animals for quiet time sometimes.  As a mother when my children were young the first thing we did on the very first day of summer vacation was a visit to the library.  There we signed up for the summer reading program.  My kids looked forward to it and each week we would return and check out new books and visit the summer reading area to pick up our prize/incentive.  Sometimes it was a bookmark, sticker, free dinner or small toy.  Not only is it crucial for them to be reading but for you to read to them - I usually did this at night and it was a read aloud.  I would use funny voices for the different characters and ask my kids to make predictions based on the story so far or pictures.  They always looked forward to this.

Play games ~ ~ ~ this sounds simple enough right!?!?  Playing 'learning' games with your kids that don't seem like learning games is a brilliant move as a parent.  For instance:  Apples to Apples, Count your Chickens, Headbandz, Bananagrams and so much more.  These games are fun and your child won't really feel like they are spelling or counting or thinking critically ~ literally a win win here.

Another idea is ~ this may sound surprising but: Give them screen time.  Yep, I said it!  We are living in a digital world whether we like it or not and your kids are digital natives....we are digital immigrants.  So, let them have screen time BUT ~ control it...  Give them a schedule in the summer:
something like:
park visit/picnic lunch
home for rest
Ipad time ~ learning apps
outside play time/water play or backyard game
reading time
indoor play: legos, puzzles, etc.

There are a TON of APPS{ free and paid versions }available for educators and parents to use that make learning FUN and it doesn't seem like a chore to the kids.  Some fun ones are: Matific, Magic School Bus, Fish School HD, Stack the States, Winky Think Logic Puzzles, Ship Antics, Dexteria Dots, The Sight Word Adventure, Balloony Word, School Zone and much more.

I liked to build indoor forts with my kids with blankets and pillows and taking the couch apart of course.  We would set it up together and then go in it.  I would pop popcorn or have apple slices and sometimes we would play school with white boards.  They would have fun answering simple math problems on their white boards and guess what?!!?  IT NEVER seemed like school WORK to them!

OR give your youngest ones apples slices and have them count them, always be in dialogue with your child.  Pointing out the colors of the stop sign, buildings , the words on signs, etc.

EXTRA TIPS:  If you can, encourage your child to pick out both fiction and non fiction books at the library.  You can have little book talks with them about the books.  I kept my kids busy with swim lessons, mommy and me baking camps etc.  After those fun activities we would have some quiet time to write in our journals about what we did, what we liked or didn't like.  I let them pick out cool journals at the beginning of summer and bought stickers and cool pencils or gel pens as they got older.  I let them decorate their journals with the stickers and told them we would write in these during the summer but certainly not every day.  We wrote about 3 times a week in them.  Not only was this keeping their writing skills up but it gave me a glimpse into their feelings.  For instance, my daughter jumped right off the diving board at swim lessons but wrote about how much she DIDN'T like it.  She acted very brave and didn't come across like she didn't enjoy it but reflecting back in her journal she really wasn't a fan.  It was a good time to have them read their journal to me ( if they wanted ) and reflect on their feelings, thoughts, what they were looking forward to that summer or wanted to do.

If you have serious concerns about your child certainly discuss these with your child's teacher.  Some children do need a more formal intervention like tutoring over the summer.  If your child is on grade level or above these are simple ideas that you can be doing that should keep them right on pace to be ready for the next grade level.  Most importantly have fun, make memories and enjoy every moment!

No comments