Who wants to think about school over the summer? Parents do! When children have long breaks without regular opportunities to practice reading and other skills they need in school, they often need extra time to get back into the swing of things when they return to school in the fall.
Research shows that students lose about a month of learning and knowledge each summer. It may take weeks to get a child back to where they left off before the summer break.
We want children to have what they need to start the school year confident and ready to learn. Our education experts have a few tips parents to help their children avoid the summer brain drain and make warm weather reading and learning easy and fun!
Nicole Reese, a special education teacher with Morneau Shepell, encourages parents to continue engaging their children in learning activities throughout the summer months.
Five great summer learning tips
- Take out books from the library. Many libraries have a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer. Have a look at the TD Summer Reading Club.
- Invest in online learning sites that provide both reading materials and comprehension activities to challenge your young learner’s mind.
- Make everyday events or specific activities “teachable trips”, like going to the grocery store or museum. Make the trip interactive by keeping a journal about your travels and include a little checklist of things that were viewed so you can ask comprehension and recall questions.
- If the children are older have them use the internet and delve deeper into topics that they are interested in. Research these topics at the library and, together, watch and discuss documentaries on the topic.
- Use “home economics” to teach math and important life skills. Cooking with your children is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu too! Help your child put together their favourite recipes in a cookbook and head to the grocery store. Use mental math games while perusing the aisles or choose different ingredients found in everyday foods and research them together.
It is important to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer so they will not fall victim to the “summer slide”. As a family be sure to explore, learn, read, read and read some more! Feel free to talk with a psychologist or special educator if you need more individualized strategies or have other gross motor concerns for your child. Not only can we prevent the “summer slide”, we can accelerate reading growth. Make this summer a time of learning and fun!