Last week, I wrote about the importance of summer learning and the academic losses that occur when children don’t engage in summer learning activities. The good news is that it only takes two to three hours per week of academic activities to help prevent summer learning loss. This week, I would like to provide some suggestions that may help busy parents keep students engaged in learning over the summer months. Listed below are a few ideas:
- Create a summer scrapbook. Save postcards and movie tickets and record family stories or interesting events from each day, whether you’re going on vacation or just going to your neighborhood park.
- Set time aside every day for reading and writing and visit the library frequently. Ask your child about the book or magazine they are reading. Why do they like the book? Who is their favorite character? As your child’s most important role model, it is essential that your child see you reading. Reading together or separately teaches children the importance and value of reading as a lifelong skill and hobby.
- Complete an art project based on a favorite book or story such as drawing a favorite scene, or making paper bag puppets.
- Many children become better readers through writing so find ways to encourage your children to write. They can help you write grocery lists, “to do” lists, post cards, or letters. Children can also keep journals of summer activities or write tall tales about their vacation adventures. Many children are still thrilled to receive letters in the mail. Use your social networks to help your child find a summer pen pal that can exchange letters and post cards with your child.
- Connect reading and writing. Have your child write a book review of a book he/she has just completed. If this sounds too much like a book report, have your child write a review of a movie, T.V. show, new restaurant, or toy. Remind them that the review is their opinion that is supported by details and/or examples. You can also encourage your child to write a new ending to a book, movie, or T.V. show.
- Play games that involve reading, thinking, or spelling like Pictionary, Boggle, Scrabble, or Trivial Pursuit.
- Allow children to cook with you or if old enough, plan and cook a meal for the family on their own. Math skills such as measuring and fractions are reinforced when children use a cookbook and measuring cups.
- Play math games and practice math facts using flash cards or dice. Look for opportunities for students to practice math facts such as shopping trips or car trips.
It can take up to two months after the school year starts for a child’s brain development to get back on track. Children that engage in learning activities over the summer can start the new school year ready to learn. As always, if you have questions about our schools, please contact me at the Administrative Offices (237-6300) or through e-mail at Susan.Gunnell@huberheightscityschools.org.