By Sandra Braceful-Quarles
With summer break on the horizon, kids are looking forward to a break from school and spending more time with friends. As you plan your child's summer, incorporate activities and learning opportunities to prevent the summer slide from happening to your child.
The summer slide is the loss of learning that takes place during the summer months when children are not engaged in educational activities, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Over 100 years of research shared by the National Summer Learning Institute suggests that students score two to three months lower on the same standardized test given at the end of summer compared to the beginning of summer vacation. After a few summers, those months can easily add up to a loss of one school year.
To prevent that loss of knowledge, plan activities that focus on your child's interests to ensure they're having fun while learning over their summer vacation.
Visit your local library.
Many libraries have summer reading programs to encourage students to read over the summer. Kids usually receive a reward at the end of the program based on the number of books they read.
Cook your way through lessons in the kitchen.
Cooking is a fun way to incorporate reading, math, and art into a learning activity. The reading part comes with following the recipe, which makes the dish taste delicious. Have your child—the chef of the day—read instructions aloud as you act as his or her assistant. The math is the measurement part of the recipe. Instead of using 1 cup, use 1/3 cup (pour three 1/3 cups into 1 cup) to show that they are equal. Children can show artistic skills when plating and presenting the meal.
Learn more about their hobbies.
Hobbies are the perfect opportunities for reading and learning. If your child shows an interest in a particular topic, suggest he or she learn more about those activities. For example, if your child is interested in swimming, read about how to become a better swimmer, convert laps in pool meters into miles, or learn about famous swimmers.
Optimize your vacation.
Use the weeks leading up to your summer vacation to learn about your destination. Read brochures or books together before you leave. While on vacation, point out locations and cultural qualities that you learned about in those reading materials. During the vacation or upon your return, encourage your child to write about the activities in a summer adventure journal.
Enjoy your summer. Your child has many resources available to prevent any learning loss. With these tips, the only summer slide your child will ride is at the local playground or amusement park.
Sandra Braceful-Quarles is an educator, community liaison, and tutor working in the south suburbs of Chicago. As an active member of her worship community, she is passionate about giving back and volunteering to help others. She and her husband have three children and two grandchildren.
Looking for more ways to improve your child’s learning experience outside of school? Pick up a copy of YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher on Amazon.