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May 11th, 2017

Being Intentional to Avoid Summer Slide

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To Avoid Summer Slide You Have to Be Intentional

Research for the past 100 years has shown us that students, not engaged in some kind of educational activity over the summer, typically lose about 1-3 months of learning.  This can be mainly seen as more detrimental for math than it is for reading. Studies also show that income can have an impact on how much a student gains or loses in reading.  Middle-class students actually gained in reading over the summer, while lower income students experience losses. This might be attributed to the enrichment activities that many middle-class kids participate in over the summer, such as camp and trips.

No matter what the studies say or your income; however, as your child’s parent and advocate, you CAN make a difference in how your child learns over the summer.  Where there is a will, there is a way, right? So be intentional.  Recognize that loss can happen, but it doesn’t have to make a mark on your child’s back to school experience.

So, What Should Parents DO to Help Their Child Stay Engaged in Learning Throughout the Summer Months?

  • Have your child work on sample practice questions for 20 minutes a day.  Make it fun!  Pretend you are playing school and that is your child’s classwork.  You can grab some free sample questions here from the OLSAT.  They will give your child a feeling of accomplishment, as well as, keeping his mind sharp. Practice questions help strengthen the underlying abilities your child need for school, such as language, memory, information, fine motor skills, spatial and visual skills, math and thinking.
  • Let your child play some of his favorite games every day.  Turn off the technology and settle around the table for a good old-fashioned board game.  There are so many games, which help build and sharpen your child’s skills.  Play games like the following:
    • Clue or Whodunit, which teach logic and listening skills
    • Monopoly, which teaches your child about investment, spending, interpersonal skills of negotiation and risk taking
    • Mancala teaches memory skills, problem solving and human development
    • Chess teaches your child logic, cognitive benefits, social skills, analysis, planning and focusing
    • Yahtzee teaches math skills, like recognition, counting, addition, multiplication and chance or probability
    • Our IQ Fun Pack is wonderful, too!  It teaches your child language, knowledge, memory, math, visual-spatial, thinking, and fine-motor skills.  Beyond that, your child needs to build pre-reading, listening and focusing skills between ages 3 – 5, as well.
  • Keep lots of books or go to the library — start a long chapter book! Establish a 30-minute reading time at home every day – Little House on the Prairie, Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, The Wizard of Oz or the Fudge series. These teach language, vocabulary, a love of reading, and patience and self-control as kids have to wait for the next chapter.
  • Do fun math building activities with your child.  When you are baking together, let your child measure and mix.  Let your child have a lemonade stand and keep count of the cost and the profit. Play store by providing things for your child to buy or barter. Take your child on errands with you and do everyday math problems, like counting change, figuring out the tip to pay or deciding which is the most expensive bread and whether or not you should buy it – that sort of thing.
  • Creative Writing Activities at home with your child. Let her write the grocery list before you go. Encourage her to write a thank you letter to her grandparents or get her a pen pal. Or play the game where you start the story and trade off…back and forth, adding on a bit more.  It is so much fun!
  • Summer Research Project: Is there something that really fascinates your child? How can you create a summer research project around it?  Let’s say your daughter is fascinated by ancient Egypt.  Is there a museum exhibit you could go to where there are mummies?  Are there books she can read herself about that?  Is there a book you can read to her that is a fictionalized account of life in ancient Egypt or a biography of King Tut?  Make it a point to help your child learn more about her subject of passion and to document what she learns through something she writes or an art project.
  • Take Family Field Trips to Cool Places Near Your Home. Take pictures at each place you go. When you get home, have your child talk about your experience at the place you went with someone who wasn’t there.  Let your child create a photo album of each adventure.  This builds his memory skills, organizational skills, and writing skills as he labels each picture.  If he isn’t writing yet, you can label the pictures for him.
  • Go outside! Free, unstructured play is important in building all the abilities kids need to be successful in school and in life.  Go to the park with friends and their children and watch creativity, self confidence, team work, negotiation, and more happen before your eyes.

All of these things will help your child with testing even though they may seem unstructured and not focused specifically on test questions.  They will build your child’s vocabulary, strengthen their thinking skills, build their memory muscle, enhance their visual-spatial skills – everything they need to do well when tested and when in school.

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