On average, 20-30% of a child’s reading and math skills are lost over the summer. (Downey, et al (2004)). OUCH. What can we do to help this percentage go down? You may be thinking: workbooks, more school, drilling math facts all day…. the answer is really simple. Just ENJOY the summer with your children!
Here are a few tips.
1. Enroll in the summer reading program for some fun incentives to read a variety of books. Read to your children and have them read to you! Read in different locations – the park, outside, in a homemade fort. There are two parks in Morton that have a “Storywalk” where you walk around the park reading one page of the story at a time. Make a plan to read at least 20 minutes a day with your child.
2. Get outside and explore nature! Ask questions and then let your child lead the conversation. Go hiking, on a bike ride, or trek down to the neighborhood creek. This stimulates the brain and promotes natural learning.
3. Play games together as a family. This helps the child learn cooperation, teamwork, winning and losing, and many other educational strategy skills.
4. Cook and eat dinner as a family. At dinner time, go around the table, talk about a highlight and a lowlight of the day for each family member. Then my boys like to ask a “fun” question for everyone… What was your silliest/bravest/etc. part of the day? Conversations encourage listening, comprehending, and responding in a correct manner.
5. Encourage free imaginative play. This increases vocabulary, cognitive development, and so much more!
6. Finally, and probably most importantly, limit screen time. Set aside an evening a week to have a family movie night and stick to it. Another twist on movie night, our family favorite, is home video night. We link up our phones to our TV and play videos from when the kids were babies all the way up to recent videos. I love this type of movie night because it generates more conversations and memories!
There are so many natural things you can do and are already doing with your children to help with the “summer slide”. Enjoy your Summer with your children – make memories, be creative, messy, and READ. Your children will be more than ready for school in the Fall!