By Carolina Boyd
The summer months are a welcome break from school for a lot of kids. For many of them, it’s also a break from learning. Studies have found that many children and teens—regardless of family income or background—lose between two to three months of math and reading skills over the summer break.
Known as the summer slide, as well as summer brain drain, children experience this learning loss when they do not participate in reading, writing and math activities over the long summer break. Teachers often spend the first three-to-six weeks of school re-teaching skills that students learned in the previous grade before they can move on to new material.
Fortunately for parents, there are lots of fun ways to encourage kids to keep learning, even while they’re not in school.
Make Time for Reading
Make time for your children to read between 15-to-30 minutes every day. Summer activities can include taking your kids to the public library to check out books they may be interested in reading. Parents of students who are reading below their grade level should read with their kids to help them with difficult words. Every child, who completes an annual well-child exam at Legacy, receives a free book as part of the Little Readers program. Click here to learn more.
Work on Math Skills
Just working on three to four math problems daily during the summer school break can help keep your kids’ math skills from getting rusty. Math workbooks can be purchased at many bookstores or online. This can help your children close the gaps in their math skills, as well as preserve what they learned during the last school year.
Explore Your Community
Visit local museums, zoos, and any other cool places around town. They can snap pictures or research a special animal in the zoo or a famous person in history. This can help them sharpen their reading and research skills, while having fun at the same time.
Learn a New Skill
Find an interest for your child that he or she hasn’t tried before. It could be learning to paint, taking a pottery class, or discovering how to knit and crochet. When the brain is learning new skills, it is also staying sharp.
Get Creative with Writing
Creative writing is a great way to improve your children’s written language skills while giving them a fun and imaginative activity during the summer. Have them write a creative paragraph every week on any topic of their choice, like a recent vacation or the family pet.
Talk to your child’s Legacy Community Health provider about ways to keep them active physically and mentally over the summer months.