With summer on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about the dreaded summer slump, also known as the summer slide. How can you prevent your child from forgetting what he or she has learned and encourage summer learning? Read on for five tips that can help your child avoid the summer slump.
A Look at the Summer Slump
The summer slump, or summer slide, is definitely a real occurrence. According to a New York Times article, the average American student loses a month's worth of learning in math and reading each summer. Lower-income students tend to suffer even more, losing roughly two months of what they've learned in the previous school year over summer break. Unfortunately, this summer learning loss can be cumulative, and as such, a serious burden to students in high school and college down the road.
So, how can you as a parent help your child avoid this dreaded summer slump? Take a look at the following five tips for some suggestions on how to keep your child's mind active and encourage learning over the summer break.
Tip #1: Consider a Summer Reading Program
One of the best ways to prevent the summer slide is to enroll your child in a summer reading program, which can be organized in a couple of different ways. Most local libraries host summer reading programs that offer incentives and prizes, which can make reading more fun and exciting for participants.
Alternatively, there are online reading programs, such as the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. This convenient, free program runs for 18 weeks and gives U.S. students the chance to earn digital rewards for completing weekly reading challenges.
Whichever option you choose, a summer reading program can help your child's mind stay sharp. As a result, he or she will be less likely to suffer from the summer slump.
Tip #2: Offer Some Educational Resources
These days, there are numerous mobile apps, computer games, and websites that are both fun and educational, so why not encourage your child to use them to boost summer learning and avoid the summer slide? Here are a couple of suggestions for educational resources:
- Epic! - If you want to keep your child reading this summer and prevent the summer slump, Epic!, which is available on Apple and Android platforms, can help. For a $7.99 monthly fee (after a free trial month), this app gives your child access to thousands of books at several reading levels—without ever stepping foot in a library.
- Study.com - Do you want to promote summer learning in a variety of subjects? Study.com's extensive library of video lessons offers an interactive, engaging way to stimulate your child's brain over the summer break. With courses geared specifically for kids in math, science, English, and more, the summer learning possibilities are nearly endless.
Tip #3: Incorporate Learning into Everyday Life
Another way to help your child avoid the summer slump is to incorporate learning into everyday life. Here are some ideas:
- While cooking, have your child read the recipe to you and measure out the ingredients to practice both reading and math skills.
- Help your child host a lemonade stand, which allows him or her to count money and give change if needed.
- If you're traveling in a car, make a game out of reading road signs and billboards.
All of these ideas can help to encourage summer learning and keep your child's brain in motion.
Tip #4: Consider a Summer Learning Program
Depending on your child's educational needs, it may be beneficial to enroll him or her in a summer learning program, also known as summer school. Although your child may not be too keen on the idea, stress the importance of summer learning and the dangers of the summer slide. Also let your child know that summer school typically doesn't last all season, so he or she will still have plenty of free time. Many school districts offer summer learning programs or can put you in touch with places that do.
Tip #5: Have Your Child Keep a Journal
Journal writing can be an effective way for your child to keep his or her mind sharp by practicing both thinking and writing skills. Encourage your child to write about daily activities. If you happen to go on a trip, have him or her chronicle the places you visit. By putting summer experiences into words, your child may be less apt to suffer from the summer slump.
When encouraging your child to avoid the summer slide by engaging in some of the previously mentioned activities, always remember to be positive and enthusiastic. Support and encouragement go a long way when it comes to summer learning!
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