Over the summer, a decline sometimes referred to as “The Summer Slide” can occur in your child’s academic abilities. Regular practice must take place to develop and strengthen skills. Think about athletes and musicians; they routinely practice their crafts to be able to play with ease.
Summer is a great time for kids to get ahead and build upon the gains they made in the school year. Here are four simple ways to prevent the summer slide:
Read every day
Children of all ages should read every single day for at least 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time. It’s okay to be flexible on the reading material as each text engages a different set of skills but we recommend putting at least one chapter book on the summer agenda. If your child is a beginning reader, be sure that most of their independent reading are with books at their appropriate level (simple books that they can read themselves) as this helps them put their reading strategies to work.
Set up a routine
Sit down with your child and prepare their summer schedule together. If your child is not in camp, we recommend booking time to review and practice academic concepts in the morning when they have the most energy; this also leaves the rest of the day open for planned activities and unscheduled fun. If your child attends day camp, try sticking to your established school year homework routine.
Connect with your child’s teacher
Before school ends for the year, make an appointment to visit your child’s teacher. Try to do this as soon as possible, as the end of the year is often a hectic time at schools. Ask about your child’s progress and find out if there are any areas of concern as well as if your child is at the provincial grade-level standard for each subject. The teacher will likely have suggestions on how you can best support your child over the summer. Take advantage of the extra time and book a tutor if needed.
Keep learning fun
It’s summertime so feel free to bend the usual rules a little if your child can handle the change. Let them take their reading outside, play Scrabble on the deck, or use an online app to practice their math facts. There are many opportunities for educational and fun excursions in the warmer weather. Take in outdoor plays, go camping, visit a farm, or enjoy a movie under the stars. The more children experience in the world, the more background knowledge they have to draw upon to understand new concepts when they head back-to-school.