Some tips and tricks to keep brains engaged and skills sharp over the summer.
When school comes to an end for the summer often the critical thinking, social skills, and learning of the school year comes to an end as well. Sometimes, by the time school starts again in September, teachers are facing students who are in the same place they were in February of the previous year, that's four months of learning, structure, reading comprehension and skills development that has been lost over the summer months.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent the dreaded summer slide, and they are MUCH easier than you might think!
Children can lose as many as FOUR months of reading comprehension, skills development, and critical thinking skills during the summer.
Make time for the Library every week!
Your local library is the best place to help stop the summer slide! Most libraries have a reading program during the summer and are FULL of special free programming for all ages.
Libraries also have books! Reading is the BEST way to combat the summer slide. Make sure that you help your child (or ask the friendly library staff) to find books that match their interests. There are picture book, and chapter books galore, but don't forget about the children's non-fiction section, magazines, and graphic novels too! You are sure to discover some gems that would interest the whole family!
Set a reading goal!
Have everyone set a daily or weekly reading goal. It could be a combined goal, or a competitive goal, depending on what works for your family, but just like a diet, make it realistic and attainable. 5 minutes for an adult and 5 minutes for a 3 year old mean very different amounts of time.
Make reading part of the summer routine!
If you set aside as little as 15 minutes a day for reading it can have a radical impact on your child's success. Whether that becomes part of the bedtime routine or as a task before playing a video game or watching television establishing reading as a routine is a lot easier that it may seem.
BUT, do what you say! If you say they must read for 30 minutes before watching television, lead by example. You are their first teacher, putting down the screen and picking up a book can be fun for everyone. Studies have shown that children with at least one family member who values reading are more likely to grow up to be lifelong readers.
Ask questions while you read!
Reading aloud to children can help them to read fluently and to develop phonic skills, but talking about what is happening in the story, asking questions about how they think the story will progress, about aspects of the story, or re-telling stories can help children understand and develop language.
Listen to Audiobooks in the car!
Audiobooks are wonderful! Not only can you have someone tell you a story, but you can also have some fantastic bonding over a great story while stuck in a car!
Giving your children tasks in the kitchen can seem like a recipe for disaster and a mess waiting to happen, but it is a great way to practice fine and gross motor skills, critical thinking, social skills, and consequences.