Oh the fun, carefree months of summer. The days full of beach visits, splash pads and bike rides. All that summer fun leads to what teachers have come to term the “Summer Slide” – that gap in learning that occurs during the months kids are out of school, meaning teachers spend the first few weeks of school reviewing learning that has been forgotten.
To lessen the gap, and help ensure kids arrive back at school ready to move forward, we have a few tips and tricks to lessen the summer slide. The good news is, you don’t have to turn your house into a school and fill your kitchen table with worksheets every day. But while we can ditch the worksheets, there are many ways to incorporate learning into your summer activities.
1 – Read Every Day
The #1 thing you can do to avoid the summer slide is to READ. To make reading a habit, build reading time into your summer routine. Maybe that’s bedtime reading or quiet time in the afternoon. Make it part of your routine to read every single day.
For younger kids, you may be reading to them. For older kids this reading time may be independent time. To encourage early readers to read independently, make sure to provide reading materials that are at their level. We love level readers because they are short books, feature very few words on each page and bright pictures to help kids decode the words and they meet kids where they are at in their reading level.
2 – Incorporate Learning into Your Daily Activities
Learning can happen anywhere. Say you’re going out on a scavenger hunt. Take a little notebook and pencil and get your kids to write down all the cool and interesting things you find on your hike.
If you’re at the zoo, ask your child if they can read the signs in front of the animals. If they can’t make out the words yet, ask them what the first letter of the animal’s name is and try to sound out the word.
This year I put together a summer journal for my son who just finished Grade 1. He can either draw a picture or we can print off a picture of the activity we did that day and he can write something – it could be a few words, a sentence, whatever he feels like writing. The idea isn’t to get him to write a novel every day, but simply to put pencil to paper and practice writing so we keep up with that skill.
3 – Play Games
We want our kids to learn, but they want to have fun. It is summer, after all. So instead of breaking out the math equation flash cards (there's a time and place for these), check out our educational games section. We have tons of games that focus on numeracy and literacy. Kids will be having so much fun they don’t even realize that they’ve just done 10 math equations.
4 – Let their Interests Lead the Learning
Summer is a great time to let kids explore what they are interested in. Say you go to the backyard and your child sees an interesting bug. Let them make a project out of learning about bugs. Maybe you get a little bug house and they have a bug journal. Maybe you get some books about bugs. The important thing is that they KEEP LEARNING.