Are you looking for summer slide prevention tips? Help your kids keep their academic skills sharp by making learning fun all summer long!
What is the Summer Slide?
The human brain is not meant to retain every piece of information it ever encounters. In fact, our brains regularly “prune” unused bits of data. When we go weeks or months without accessing historical dates, geography, or vocabulary words, the brain assumes we are done with that information and it disappears forever.
Young children especially need repetition and consistency to retain important details like math facts and sight words. When they take an entire summer off from learning, they can lose ground and have to work harder to “catch up” in the fall.
Students who continue reading, writing, and practicing their math skills over the school break can actually move forward with their learning, making the back to school transition even easier. In all of my research on the subject, it seems like there is momentum one way or the other — our brains don’t just sit still. We are all either going forward or falling back…
Preventing the Summer Slide
Summer slide prevention has become a bit of an industry over the past few years. There are workbooks and flashcards, websites, and tutoring centers all designed to help our children find academic success. And while these resources can be helpful for some students, most children need just 15-20 intentional minutes each day to keep their skills sharp.
On a website called “Rolling Prairie Readers,” I’m sure you would guess that we make time for reading every day. Not only do I allow my girls to choose their own books at the library, I also bring home a big stack of non-fiction and picture books that go along with our monthly theme.
Both of my kids are focusing on one specific subject this summer. My youngest is working her way through a handwriting book because she needs more practice with a pencil. My oldest is brushing up on her math skills.
We are traveling a few different places this summer as well. We took a boat ride down the Mississippi River right after school got out, and we plan on visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, Missouri in just a few weeks. We’re also spending quality time in both Narnia and Hogwarts, via our audiobook selection at the library. 😉
Making Learning Fun for Kids
If you’re concerned about preventing the summer slide for your kids, I have a few tips for you:
- Visit the library at least twice a month. Stock up on books your kids will want to read, even if that’s joke books, graphic novels, or the latest undercover princess goes to spy school novel in the new releases section. Grab a few audiobooks that might be slightly above your child’s reading level and make time to listen to them together. Sign up for the summer reading program and reward your child for getting in 15 minutes a day.
- Choose one academic skill to work on this summer. Whether it’s handwriting or math facts, creative writing or STEM, commit to spending an hour or less each week on moving your child forward in one area where they typically struggle.
- Research one of your child’s areas of interest. Study the first walk on the moon or a major historical figure. Visit an art museum in your area or learn more about native plants at a nature center. Go hiking, fishing, boating, or camping — something hands-on that your child will really enjoy!
Making learning fun at home and preventing the summer slide is easier than you’d think! Start with good books, add in some hands-on learning, and finish off with a few family adventures.
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