Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

The “summer slide” is the learning loss that happens during our long summers here in the U.S. Few kids are helping on the family farm, but there have been no adjustments to the lengthy summer break originally designed for harvest. Unfortunately, research has shown that brew summer slide is a serious problem resulting in two-thirds of a cumulative learning gap by the time kids reach high school. Luckily, no parent has to be a certified teacher to keep their children on track.

Hit the books.

Read, read, read. If your child is too young to read, make it a family affair. Read aloud at bedtime or make it a routine with the daily snack. Wherever it fits into your schedule, read together. Children can also be inspired by regular visits to the library, and it doesn’t even matter if they are reading comic books or an article on the iPad. Reading is reading. If it peaks their interest, let them run with it. If you need a better incentive, there are usually reading challenges available in your community. Talk to your local library and they can point you in the right direction or construct a reward system yourself.

Flex writing skills.

If reading is a struggle, it can be a regular wrestling match to get your kids to do any writing. Regardless of how you can inspire them, though, make it happen. Buy brand new journals for each child every summer and let them write whatever they want, as long as they are writing. Have them write immediately after reading to boost comprehension, noting key details in the story. Challenge your children to create a new play and then make a big deal bringing it to life. Worst case scenario, tell them they must write for 20 minutes before they can do anything else with their day. Worked with Kira and Derek!

Don’t forget math and science.

You may have judged your teacher for that algebra you never use, but foundational math and science skills are still important. Luckily, it’s easy to get your kids thinking about numbers and theories. Cooking is a terrific way to challenge math skills, so have fun with fractions and cookies. Create a volcano with baking soda and vinegar or make your own edible rock formations. Enlist ideas from your kids and find out what they want to discover this summer and test their theories in real time.

Weekly family adventures.

Learning does not have to happen in a classroom setting. Plan weekly field trips with the whole family whenever possible, even if it’s a nature walk through a local park or exploring a nearby museum. Pick a topic and ask your children to learn as much as they can about it and discuss their findings over ice cream.

It’s estimated that 25% of reading skills alone are lost over the summer. This is especially devastating to children who may be struggling during the school year and enter the next less prepared than when they left. There are many ways to battle the summer slide and have tons of fun doing it. It takes very little time out of each day, making it possible even for busy working parents to take an active role in their child’s learning. What do you like to do with your kids during the summer to prevent summer slide?