| by Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed., TPT Teaching and Coaching, 5/26/2021|
The "summer slide" is often referred to when students lose some of their academic skills when school is not in session. Struggling readers may regress since they do not have the opportunity to engage in reading materials on a daily basis. Also, hesitant writers may lose writing skills they have learned throughout the year. Wherever your child may be, the key intervention to the summer slide is to keep your child learning over the summer. Below are six ways to keep your child engaged cognitively over the summer.
-Have your child journal every day on things of novelty and topics of interest. The topics can range from sports to teenage idols. An informal journal entry can help students keep up with their writing skills by fully utilizing writing as a vehicle for self expression and processing a wide a range of emotions.
-Have your child write thank you letters as appropriate or write letters to out-of-state grandparents. This is an excellent opportunity to have your child activate their composition skills to avoid erosion of academic skills over the summer. This is also great practice for future thank you notes that your child will have to craft after job interviews.
-Begin a PenPal friendship with your child (No, really! If you put the jazz in it, they'll think it's cool!) Create a fictional mailbox in your home. You can write to your child as if it's a long-distance friendship. This can also be done with grandparents/relatives as well to join in on the literary fun. This is just another outlet for the child to practice a wide range of writing genres on various occasions. This is about transforming writing skills into a familiar mode of expression.
-Encourage your child to read about their hobbies. To entice your child's appetite for summer learning, it is best to help them explore their interests and various entry points to new discoveries. Reading will help your child accumulate a vast vocabulary bank, which in turn will help your student become a more proficient writer over time.
-Integrate reading as part of their day. Perhaps, start out the day with 20 minutes of reading. This is an excellent way to teach structured time during the summer. Instilling habit-forming daily routines are important for students' cognitive and executive function development.
-Read aloud their own writing/books (baking cookie directions, plays, songs, anything can become a read-aloud session). This activity builds self-confidence, public speaking skills, and social skills.
There is only one way to keep your child from academic regression. That is, keeping them in summer learning mode and keeping them academically engaged throughout the summer months. Most importantly, help your child associate learning with a joyful effort and an educational persistence.
If you are looking for summer learning ideas for your child, I invite you to explore our summer learning options.
Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed.
I am a licensed professional educator, executive function expert, former tenured high school teacher and college instructor with 15 years experience. I am also a student success designer. I enjoy recognizing the missing puzzle in the student's learning and personalizing that solution in a language that is unique to that student. I love the creative challenge of inventing a new language for every child.