Summertime is a wonderful time for children to recharge and relax after a long school year. Unfortunately, it is also a time when many of the skills they’ve gained throughout the year are lost, causing “Summer Slide.” According to the Brookings Institute, Summer Slide means that students will begin the academic year at a lower level than they were when summer began. Skills like reading and math will decrease when they are not reinforced over the summer months. While the downtime is also restorative and important, making sure that your child gets off to a great start in the fall is, too.
Here are some ways that you can help your child prevent Summer Slide:
- Reading is important. Your child probably has a summer reading assignment. That’s great. However, it is just as important for your child to read books that are of specific interest and relevance to him. Spend a little time choosing books with your child that go beyond the summer assignment. Don’t forget to check out picture books and magazines as well.
- Cooking is a great way to practice math and science! Fractions, addition, subtraction, and division are all a part of cooking and baking. When you cook with your child, you can point out the math involved. Chemistry is also an important element of cooking. For instance, bread dough will rise differently depending on elevation and humidity.
- Have some great conversations. Don’t shy away from using your advanced vocabulary when you speak with your child. Define the new words, and help your child to think through issues and topics with you. You will model thinking skills while building their vocabulary.
- Learn something new! Show your child that old dogs CAN learn new tricks. Choose something that you’ve never done before, and show your child how you tackle a new skill. For instance, there are ukuleles on sale in many stores this summer. This might be a great time to learn how to play one.
- Read for yourself. Children will learn more from what you do than what you say. If you pick up a book that is of interest to you, you are modeling reading for pleasure. If you learn something from that book and share it, you are teaching your child a new way to learn. So, find a book that you will enjoy, and enjoy reading it for fun.
- Visit a museum, park, or historic location. Take your child on a historic tour. You will find interactive programs and tours in many places in your local area. Does your child love to explore in a more physical way? Try a visit to Diggerland or the Please Touch Museum for some hands-on fun.
If you are enriching your child’s experiences, there is no reason to fear Summer Slide. In fact, some tests discussed in Psychology Today have revealed that “Math calculation declines but math reasoning increases over the summer.” Your child will benefit from time spent with you no matter what you are doing together. Just remember that children pay attention to your actions, so if you model a love of learning they’ll be more likely to develop their own love of learning!