Most students probably agree that the best part of summer break is not having to go to class, do homework, or take tests. While these brain breaks can be great, the length of the summer break can lead to a lot of learning loss before the new school year. In fact, research suggests that students can lose up to 3 months of reading skills and a month of math skills over the summer.
While it might seem intimidating to maintain learning over the summer, experts agree that it does not take a whole school day of effort to prevent learning loss during the summer. Instead, parents need to only set aside 15-30 minutes a day to maintain and build reading skills.
Below are 3 tips to encourage summer reading:
1. Let the child pick the book.
While children might not gravitate towards the most “academic” books on their own, the priority is building excited readers. Plus, especially for younger learners, any reading is good practice! Allowing them to read a graphic novel or choose an audiobook can be a great starting point to build excitement around daily reading time and get them excited about a trip to the library or bookstore.
2. Model reading time for them.
Anyone who’s spent time around children knows they are sponges in their environment. You can absolutely take advantage of that when it comes to building reading skills! By picking up a book and having your own reading time, you are modeling the habit of reading for fun. Kids love to copy a trusted caregiver, so you might be surprised how easy it is to get them to jump into reading time with you!
3. Make reading a game.
For some learners, they are motivated by a competition or goal. Summer reading can easily become a game either in the household or in the community! One idea would be to set a goal for the number of books the family will read and plan some kind of small celebration at the end of the summer if the goal is met (or a good effort is made)! Additionally, the local library might have a summer reading challenge. The Houston Public Library, for example, hosts a Reading Program where people of all ages can log their reading and win prizes. No matter where you are located, the Scholastic Summer Reading program is open to all participants, which allows you to unlock games and online experiences by maintaining a reading streak.
You can also practice math skills in some really simple ways!
We’ve outlined 5 below:
1. Bring kids into the kitchen!
Recipes for cooking or baking are a simple way to practice using fractions, multiplying, and other basic math skills. For example, find a favorite recipe and ask your learner to help you double or half it.
2. Go discount hunting!
We all love a good sale, and it’s even better when those deals are also an opportunity for learning. Next time you see a sign that an item is 20% off, ask your student what the sale price is. Or if an item is marked down, ask them what the difference is between the sale price and the original price.
3. Put screen time to use!
There are tons of apps and websites that offer free math practice. Many of them present math concepts as games that can be just as fun as regular game apps.
4. Combine math practice with reading time!
There are tons of books available that feature math stories. Contextualizing math problems and when to use different concepts is a critical skill to long term math success. Here is a list of books that will help your family flex their math muscles.
5. Visit the museum!
Science and children’s museums can be great places for students to see the power of math at work. Math is behind launching rockets into space, calculating the age of dinosaur bones, and more. Seeing the possibilities of what they could do with math skills can inspire kids to jump into those math activities with more excitement.
We know that the idea of teaching at home can be daunting or overwhelming for parents, so we hope these tips help you feel more prepared to prevent summer learning loss!