“What can we do over the summer?”
As a teacher, this is one of the biggest questions parents ask at the end of the year. Many times parents inquire about additional worksheets or websites to help their child get ahead for the following school year. However, what parents don’t realize is that unless children are actively engaged in some sort of educational activities they can regress in their academic careers. This is known as the summer slide.
There are lots of different ways to avoid the summer slide without making it seem like summer school. Today I’m going to give song ideas for parents that can be done at home to help kids stay up-to-date.
Summer is the time for kids to be outside, so take advantage of the outdoors.
- Sidewalk chalk. There are endless possibilities for how to use sidewalk chalk. Kids can write their names in funky ways (squiggles, block letters, backwards, etc). Children can also draw pictures of what they see in nature and label them.
- Write outside. Some kids love to write stories or poetry, so encourage them to sit outside while they write. If they see a butterfly, have them write a story about the life of the butterfly and allow them to draw a picture. Allow them to use their imagination and have fun, since the writing is not graded they have total freedom about the style and content of the writing.
- Reading place challenge. Challenge your little reader to read in as many different places as possible. They can read in a tree, on a beach towel in the back yard, on a slide, etc. Feel free to take pictures and share them with friends and family to make it exciting. If you have a reluctant or struggling reader, you may want to challenge them to 10 different places and then they can buy a new book.
- Go to parks. State parks often have historical information throughout the park which are full of interesting facts. Not only will kids get some exercising walking through a park, but they will also learn along the way.
Many families use summer time to travel, which often means hours of sitting in a car or plane.
- Play games. For younger children, games are perfect for practicing reading skills. The license plate game and the alphabet game are two great ones to help little ones with their letter and reading skills.
- Sing songs. Rhyming helps little ones with language development and reading skills, so feel free to use the time in a car singing songs. Depending on the ages I would suggest nursery rhymes or other children’s songs.
- Books on tape/audio books. These are fantastic for road trips. You can get them at your local library or download them from audible. If you have an beginner reader, I would suggest getting a hardcopy of the story for them to follow along with. You want to choose a book with some pictures to help with comprehension.
- Independent reading. Make a trip to your local library and let your child stock up on books they want to read.
Some families opt to use the summer to help their child catch up if they struggled during the school year.
- Hire a tutor. There are many different options for tutoring, so you may want to consider all of the choices before deciding on which is the best for your family.
- You can hire a teacher from the school your child attends. The pros of this choice are that previous and/or future teachers can communicate with the tutor about expectations and student weaknesses. A con is often times private tutors are more expensive.
- Online tutoring is another option and there are always new websites. The pro to this is the convenience. You don’t have to worry about driving somewhere or having a tutor come to the house since the tutoring is all virtual. A con is depending on the service you may not be able to talk directly to the tutor, but rather go through another person for progress reports.
- A third option is a tutoring center. Centers like Huntington and Kumon havetheir own curriculums they follow , and private centers often allow the tutor to determine what a child needs. A pro is that centers can give families assessments to track progress and communication is easy. A con is the expense depending on the program a child is enrolled in.
- Workbooks/online practice. I am personally not a fan of workbooks, but for many families this option is great because the work is done independently by the child. All the parent has to do is tell the child what pages to complete and check the work with the answer key in the back of the book. Online practice is even easier because the website will grade work and reveal the score. Barnes & Nobles is a great place to get workbooks because they have a huge variety. Ask your child’s teacher if there are any websites they suggest or that the school has access to.
- Summer school. Some schools do offer programs during the summer to help students. Sometimes it is only open to students who are struggling, so check with your school to see what the criteria is.
Many schools require summer work, mostly middle and high school students. To avoid the stress of summer assignments, sit down with your child and discuss all of the work their school requires. This will help determine the workload, what materials need to be purchased, and if a tutor is needed. Once all of the assignments have been reviewed, create a homework calendar with your child. This is a great tool to not only break up the assignment into manageable chunks, but it also helps with time management skills. This works really well for student athletes because they can schedule their homework in around practice, camp, and training.
If your child has summer reading assignments, there are a few different approaches in tackling the work.
Option 1: Just read the book first. Many kids like this option because they don’t have to worry about taking notes or answering questions, they can just enjoy the book. This strategy also allows kids to practice their reading skills without relying on a set of questions to guide them. After they read it, have them re-read the book to answer any questions or complete summer assignments.
Option 2: Read and work at the same time. Kids are used to this approach in school so they know what works best for them. Some stop reading when they find an answer to a question, and some answer questions after every chapter.
Regardless of which option they use, make sure your child re-reads the book right before school starts. Some teachers give an assessment or use the summer reading for a project. Your child will be better prepared if they know the material.