In my former life as a teacher, we often talked about how to avoid the Summer Slide. What IS the Summer Slide?
Johns Hopkins University researchers Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson (2007) studied this topic extensively and the researchers concluded that two-thirds of the 9th-grade reading achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during elementary school. This achievement level is a huge determinant of whether students stay in school and follow a college-preparatory track.
Every kid, regardless of socioeconomic or academic status, needs to keep their tools “fine-tuned” during their time off.
Don’t get me wrong. Summer is not about non-stop reading, writing, math and science “lessons” in our house. However, we do incorporate these things into our daily routines in a FUN way.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Start the morning with a little reading time while breakfast is being made
- Pick a classic book and read it out loud to your kids for 20 minutes each day
- Pick a topic and head to the library to find 3 books
- Let your kids go to bed with a stack of books and a flashlight
- Write letters to friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, or previous teachers.
- Journal once a week to highlight the best parts of the week
- Create new stories about their favorite characters. For example, what happens next at the end of Frozen?
- Practice mental math while cooking dinner or driving places. “What is 2+3+5-4 / 2?”
- Going to a museum? zoo? amusement park? aquarium? Set a budget and have the kids manage the money for the trip.
- Bring a tablet or phone to the grocery store and have your kids keep a running total on the groceries while you are shopping. See if their total adds up to the cashier’s total. (subtotal)
Sometimes it’s fun to incorporate a little screen time to tap into those areas. WHAT?! Learning can be fun?! You betcha!
Make it the best summer ever with digital tools for playing, learning, and doing – while having fun! Explore categories like science, tinkering, creativity, memory making, and more!
Some additional tips from Common Sense Media:
- Keep kids reading. Kids who read a lot over the summer not only maintain reading skills, they go back to school better prepared for all subjects. Make summer reading fun. They can read graphic novels, fanfiction — anything that captures their interests is beneficial.
- Think outside the book. Apps, games, and websites offer lots of unique learning opportunities for kids. Check out our Summer Learning Guide for ideas.
- Go for code. Computer programming apps and sites teach kids everything from problem-solving to thinking and logic.
- Make lasting memories. With easy-to-use digital tools, kids can collect videos, photos, stories, and more in electronic journals that tell the story of their summer.
Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D., & Olson, L. (2007). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap. American Sociological Review, 72, 167–180.