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Posts Tagged 'Summer Slide'

Five Strategies For Accessing Quality Summer Reading Materials

One of the factors contributing to the summer slide is that students don’t read as much over the summer. Reading less may be partially caused by a less structured schedule and camp activities, but there’s another critical reason: access. During the school year, students can get reading materials from the school library or their classroom teacher, but over the summer they lose this easy access to a steady flow of quality reading materials.

We polled our team of Toronto tutors to ask for their strategies for finding quality reading materials to enjoy all summer long.

Visit The Local Libraries: Toronto has many branches across the city with several having storytimes and summer reading programs. Sign up for a library card and then pull out your family calendar to plan biweekly outings to exchange books. And if visiting the library is difficult, with a library card, your whole family can even borrow books digitally!

Organize A Book Swap: Purchasing new books can add up quickly, but a book swap is a free way for children to find new reading materials that come recommended by their friends. There are a few options to make this as easy as possible: Invite your children’s classmates over for a pre-summer book swap or work with your child’s teacher to host one in the classroom. Another low-key possibility would be to place a box at the school and have students bring in their pre-loved books in exchange for another.

Go Book Shopping: Celebrate the end of the school year with an outing to the book store. Be prepared with a list in mind; consider buying the next book or two in your child’s favourite series. And before you leave the store, browse through famous family classic’s, we love Harry Potter, for a family read-aloud that’ll take the summer to enjoy.

Explore Your Bookshelves: Often when we ‘shop’ our bookshelves we’ll find several never been read books and ones that are worth rereading. Use the end of the school year as a good time to tidy the shelves, gather books that are no longer loved (but in excellent condition) for swapping or donation, and rediscover what’s already available.

Visit The Children’s Book Bank: Located in downtown Toronto, the Children’s Book Bank’s mission is to improve literacy in low-income communities by providing free books to children living in these neighbourhoods. It’s a warm and welcoming space, much like your favourite bookstore or library, which invites children to choose books and keep them, for free. They also provide regular programming and are open all summer long.

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Apps to Prevent the Summer Slide


Summer is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the beautiful weather after a busy school year.  Unfortunately, studies show that between June and September, students can lose around 2 months of learning and have trouble adjusting for the fall.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways for students to keep learning over the summer.   Outside of full programs, there are a ton of fun apps out there, many of which students don’t even realize that they are learning.

Here are three great apps that help stop your kid’s summer slide:

App for Math: Splash Math for Grades 1-5

Splash Math is an educational program that provides comprehensive coverage of the curriculum with over 300 skills for Grades K-5. The use of animations, graphics and games make children master the basic math concepts like Addition, Subtraction, Division, Multiplication, Algebra and Geometry in a fun and interactive way.

App for Reading: Endless Reader

Endless Reader introduces “sight words”, the most commonly used words in school, library, and children’s books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures. Kids will have a blast learning sight words and their context and usage with the adorable Endless monsters. Each word features an interactive word puzzle with letters that come alive, and then a sentence puzzle with words that become what they describe. See the word “dog” as a barking dog, and the word “up” reach for the sky!

App for Science: KidScience

Unleash your inner scientist with KidScience, the app that puts a science lab at your fingertips. Kids, parents, grandparents and babysitters can search for experiments based on ingredients on hand, kids’ ages (2 to 92), time available, or type of science. Simple recipes, combined with photos and watch-and-do videos, make science easy for everyone. Explanations of the science behind the fun are includes with each project, and new experiments are added regularly.

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Summer Rainy Day Educational Activities

boy playing in fort

With school over for the year, the summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the fresh air with family, friends or at camp. Unfortunately from time to time, the weather doesn’t cooperate and we go inside for a rainy day.

While we always hope for nice weather over the summer, a rainy day is a wonderful opportunity to play indoor educational games and work on avoiding the summer slide.

Don’t let a rainy day spoil the fun – here are 7 educational games and activities to play indoors:

1) Make a Collages:  Find old magazines, newspapers and catalogs and work with your kids to find pictures of animals, food, sites and other fun items.  Give them safety scissors and glue to make a collage book.

2) Create a Story: Work with your child to create a short about anything s/he is interested in.  Then one of you provides an opening line and you take turns to write sentences.   After you have both written the sentences, read the story out load together.

3) Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items to either i) find around the house or ii) research in books, magazines or online.  Once your child has found all the items, present him or her a prize at the end.

4) Play a Family Board Game:  Board games are a wonderful way to bring the family together to spend time and remove everyone from technology.   They also teach counting, memory, logic and vocabulary development.  Here are some great recommendations from Parents Magazine.

5) Pick a Country and Learn About It:  If you have a globe, spin it around and see where your finger lands.  Learn about the language (hello / goodbye), popular food and even try to write a few letters.

6) Read a New Book Together:  Keep up your reading from the school year and learn new vocabulary and more complicated story lines.

7) Try a New Craft Project:  Pinterest has wonderful craft ideas for kids.  Scroll through the hundreds of photos and see which one you like best!

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Fun Early Learning Activities to Combat the Summer Slide

summer early learning activities

Summer learning doesn’t need to be boring! Although including some element of a learning routine into summer plans is a great way to prevent the summer slide, it’s possible to have fun, be outdoors and foster academic skills, too. We have four early learning activities for the little learner in your household:

Create a maker space in your backyard. Go on a hunt through your house for any materials that could be used outdoors to create a maker space for your children. This space promotes learning through play as children experiment, create, invent and learn using ase a variety of  tools and materials in a safe manner (e.g., batteries, wires, gears, wood, tools, paper etc).

Write lists. Asking your child to write a whole letter or story can be overwhelming at the best of times but in the summer it may lead to some moaning. Writing a list is a simple way to get children to write frequently. Encourage your child to start each day with a list of things to do including any academic work or chores you want them to accomplish. This will give them a purposeful agenda to their day that will keep them from saying they’re bored and help them practice time management.

Introduce DEAR time. Many children will be used to the DEAR, Drop Everything and Read, acronym from school. This is a time each day where the child stops whatever they are doing and reads for a designated amount of time. At school, the teachers often also join in the reading fun to be a reading role model. Choose a specific time each day or surprise your child by calling out DEAR time. After all, reading everyday is one of the best ways to prevent the summer slide. Make the transition to DEAR time easy by keeping a selection of books in different areas of the house so they always have something to read. Consider making an outdoor reading space using a tent and pillows a reality, too.

Stock up on sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk can be used for tons of outdoor learning.

  • Write about the letters of the alphabet and have your child hop on them and say their name aloud
  • Call out math facts and have your child write the answers
  • Write rhyming words on the fence and encourage your child to draw the pictures that go along with them

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Five Ways To Learn And Play Over The Summer Holidays

Preventing the “summer slide”, a loss of learning over the summer, may be on your mind as you plan summer holidays and camps, along with a healthy dose of down time. We have five ways you can easily incorporate learning into summer activities to maximize the fun and the learning!

Play Games

Traditional board games such as Scrabble are great for family fun while developing new vocabulary.  Practice math skills with a new hit, Moby, described by some as the number version of Scrabble. We also enjoy these math board games. You can also make your own version of ‘Go Fish’ by writing number facts or spelling words onto index cards and playing a few rounds a week!

Visit The Library

Many libraries have summer reading programs which encourage children to read throughout the summer with fun incentives like stickers and tracking their reading in notebooks or online. These programs are a wonderful way to introduce new genres and authors to your child especially reluctant tweens and teens readers since they are free from school book lists. Once your child signs up for a library card they can even borrow books digitally!

Make Math Matter

Put your child(ren) in charge of some summer meal planning and give them a budget to spend. Depending on their age, encourage them to take charge from the recipe planning through meal preparation. This will help your child learn valuable life skills while growing their independence and financial literacy.

Road Trip Fun

Increase the fun in the car while driving to your holiday destination by planning some playful learning opportunities. We love the traditional, I Spy Games or spotting License Plates. Read this list to find eight more road trip games to add to your repertoire. Don’t forget to pack a bag of books at your child’s reading level or if they’re not reading yet, choose books you’ve previously read together. If your child gets carsick, download some audiobooks that they whole family will enjoy (Harry Potter, anyone?!)

Learn To Geocache

Geocaching is an adventurous way to have fun as a family wherever you go. Explore new places while using GPS coordinates to find a treasure. Your child will learn navigational skills and feel like a detective as they follow search high and low for the hidden cache. Bring along some simple trinkets to replace the treasure you chose as a memento of your adventure.

Looking for more ways to keep young minds active over the summer holidays? Read our suggestions on Help! We’ve Got Kids.

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Simple Strategies To Prevent The Summer Slide

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.

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5 Ways to Make Math Fun This Summer

Math Student

The summer break from is a wonderful time to have fun, play outdoors and take a break from school.   Unfortunately, students can fall into the ‘Summer Slide’ from not being active in learning and lose their Math knowledge from the prior school year.   Math doesn’t always have to be about worksheets and homework problems.    Summer can be a time to make learning fun for children.

Here are 5 great ideas to share:

1) Make Math an Outdoor Activity:  Why not enjoy the sun and learn as the same time.   There a ton of great games to play and learn outdoors for a variety of different age levels.    If your child loves colouring and art, don’t miss this list.

2) Use Real Life Examples:  Show your children how important addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is to every day life.   Next time you go grocery shopping, add up the items before the register.   If you are going to the bank, learn about financial literacy and count your savings or withdrawals.   Cooking or baking is a great time to learn about measurement.   Any driving trip can be a lesson in distance, time and counting.

3) Play Math Games: There are ton of great games to help prepare your son or daughter for the fall.  Below our some of our favourites:

  • Math Games / PBS Kids
  • What Coins Do I Have
  • Motion Math Games
  • Math Play – Online Games
  • Bounce Count
  • Number of the Week

To see our full list with descriptions, click here

4) Lego: Everyone loves playing with Lego, but there are great ways to use it for learning.  Lego teaches children fractions, arrays and mean, median and mode.   To see how Lego can be used with fractions, click on the video below:

5) Math Apps:  These are a great fun for children to learn in a fun and interactive way.  Below are some of our favourites for students of all ages:

  • Let’s Do Math
  • Math Drills
  • Motion Math Zoom
  • Elevated Math
  • Math Ref

To see our full list with descriptions and links, click here

Posted in: Math Tutoring

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