Summer slide is the tendency for students to lose academic progress over the summer when they’re not attending school. Research has revealed that during summer many children lose around 20 percent of their school-year advancements in reading and nearly 27 percent of their gains in math.
Regardless of any family’s situation, it’s easy for children to spend their summers doing activities that don’t involve learning. It’s often a time for leisure, fun, and adventure.
Larry Denk, MD, a pediatrician at Rochester Regional Health, encourages parents to engage their children in educational activities like reading and writing throughout the summer months.
It’s not uncommon for children to be resistant to educational activities while on summer break. But finding ways to help their brains stay active is paramount to their learning and development. Dr. Denk recommends a few ways that parents can help their children avoid summer slide.
Encourage children to read as often as they can during the summer—but don’t force specific books onto them. Allowing them to choose what they want to read will make them more likely to participate and will increase the educational impact.
“I suggest reading daily, younger children with their parents and older kids on their own, regardless of the time of year,” says Dr. Denk. “Bring them to the library and let them pick out a few books that spark their interest.”
Dr. Denk recommends replacing television with books, especially at night.
Children love to play, and playing can easily be made into a learning activity. Certain games like puzzles, matching, and scrabble can help keep their brains sharp while having fun.
“Look for family-fun games that make you think. Even games like ‘Scattergories’ are a great way to engage the entire family while helping your children’s brains stay active.”
Children don’t have to stop learning new things over the summer. Spending free time exploring local history and culture is a great way to continue educating them throughout the year.
“Find a local historic site, a museum, or any location that can be turned into a learning experience. Even heading to a park to identify different types of plants can be a great way to keep them attentive.”
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