Monday, June 14, 2010

Ways To Prevent the Dreaded "Summer Slide"

pic of a cool slide in the form of a cheese graterThe verdict is still out on whether year-round schools are better for students, but that thing educators call “summer slide” will cause many children to take a few steps back in their learning during the summer months if they don’t engage in educational activities while on break. This means that some children are in danger of losing up to two month’s worth of reading and math skills.

My husband was deflated when he heard my son’s excited talk about getting out of school for the summer. He took it to mean that our son didn’t enjoy school. I had to remind him how glad all children are to break free for a few months from rules, lessons, and schedules. But along with our family’s summer fun, I plan on "summer schooling" my child with some of these tips so that he'll be better prepared come August.
  • Combine activities with books: Going to a zoo? A baseball game? A beach? Before you drive off, visit the library and check out books about the places your family will be visiting. It’s fun to see subjects from a book "come to life."
  • Don’t forget that learning comes in different formats: The library has audio books available in CD and downloadable formats for children and teens, along with documentaries in different subjects. BookFLIX brings beloved children’s books to life by mixing animation with read-along text.
  • Enroll your child in the summer reading program at your local library: Fun programs and cool prize incentives will help keep your child reading through the summer.

  • Play board, card, and online learning games: There are numerous games in different formats that teach math, reading, concentration, reasoning skills, and more.

  • Journaling: Let your child pick out a journal and have him/her draw a picture and write a sentence or two about the day's activities.

  • Have a craft day once a week: Some children don’t take to crafts the way others do. To keep the creative juices flowing, schedule a craft day at least once a week to awaken the inner junior artist and brush up on cutting and gluing skills for younger children.

  • Turn everyday life into a math lesson: Teach measurements when cooking and fractions when cutting up your child’s food. Add and subtract while shopping.
Remember that children learn by emulation: be inquisitive and show excitement about learning new things; read to your child and let him/her see you reading. But don't forget that summer is a time for fun and games, so sneak some learning in during bouts of play, errands, and trips.

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