Don’t Let Summer Set Your Child Back: Use These Tips to Stay on Track - Clever Noodle

Don’t Let Summer Set Your Child Back: Use These Tips to Stay on Track

Jacquelyn Davis

Summer is quickly approaching.  Are you ready to help prevent summer learning loss?  On average, children lose 2.5 months of learning over the summer, starting the new school year already a quarter behind.  

You can help prevent what educators call “The Summer Slide.”  Parents play a critical role in fostering continued learning over the summer.  

Educators can contribute substantially too by sending ideas home to support parents with their efforts. 

Sending home a grade-level summer book list is a terrific start.  

Here are some tips:

Make Reading a Habit, at Least 20 Minutes a Day. Whether it’s reading to your younger child and discussing the book or setting aside reading time for the whole family, it’s important to create rituals around reading.  Our family reads together on Saturday mornings, lounging around late into the morning in our PJs with our noses in newspapers, magazines, and books. We also each read our own books for 30 minutes before bed.  Research shows that reading a minimum of 20 minutes a day helps children retain their current reading level. Want a boost, read more.  And make sure you have routines around when everyone reads!

Indulge in the “Summer Reading List” - and Count Those Points.  Libraries, schools and even celebrities publish summer reading lists.  Many have special sections for children and some even share suggestions for children by grade.  Head to the library and make it fun to hunt these recommendations down. Check out the back cover and skim the introduction.  Have the kids select their favorites.  You can even create an old-fashioned chart with a reading goal at the top.  The kids can put a sticker on the sheet as they complete books and vote on something special they get at the end of the summer… make your own banana split ice cream party, a day at the amusement park, a special outing to a favorite spot.  

Have Rich Conversations.  Regardless of your child’s age, have conversations that are about the world around them and things that interest them.  Can you learn more about their interests together? Is there a current debate happening, e.g., free speech v hate speech?  Engage your children at an age-appropriate level and discuss topics in the news.  What might be the point of view of people on each side of a debate?  Turn your weekly Taco Tuesday into Talk of the World too. You can even set a topic in advance and invite 10 minutes of preparation.  

Encourage Your Child to Write. Summer provides a great opportunity for writing.  Write letters to family members or friends. Create a story and turn it into a script to act out a play.  Little ones can write the grocery list and be introduced to new vocabulary.  Keep a journal and share thoughts daily, especially if you are traveling. Travel logs are a fun way to chronicle what you do, experience, and feel on a trip – and are fun to look back on later. 

Make Reading Part of Your Life. Be a model for your child, and show them all the ways you read.  Read the newspaper and invite them to join in - maybe it’s just the sports section.  Ask your children to look up information for you and report out.  Give them an interesting article - at their level. 

Listen to Audiobooks.  Per a previous blog on this topic, use car time to listen to great books. This is especially helpful on road trips.  It gives everyone something to discuss - why did the character do that, what do you anticipate will happen next, why do you think the author decided to do “x,” what characters do you like and why?  Children can listen to books above their reading level and learn the structure of language (syntax) and improve their vocabulary.  Audiobooks are not cheating, they are another way to grow your children’s literacy skills. 

Play Literacy Games With the FamilyMake reading fun with literacy games! You can either make your own or use good ones you can buy.  There are easy games for older kids like: Stump Your Family - each person brings a vocabulary word to dinner and tries to “stump their family.” Whoever first knows the correct definition wins a point. For younger children, have them spot things on a drive or around the house and put the words into a story.  You can also use Story Cubes Classic to roll dice of pictures to sequence into a story.  Scrabble is great for older kids and Bogel Junior is terrific for younger ones.  My son and I are obsessed with the New York Times’ free Wordle and play daily.  And of course, for your Pre-K - 3rd grade children, try our award-winning, super fun, and highly effective reading games!  Designed and endorsed by national literacy experts, you can trust that we bring you games based on cutting-edge brain science of how children learn.