When you read that title I bet you were thinking "but what's wrong with going down a slide during the summer?" Well, for school-aged children the "summer slide" is more than just something you can find on the playground. The summer slide is when students fall behind grade level because they are not stimulated to think, learn, and grow during the summer. Yes, summer should be fun. Yes, kids should have opportunity to be lazy during the summer because they work hard all year - but there should be at least 30-45 minutes integrated each day in which children interact with something educational.
This summer I am working with the 8-12 year olds in the Lions summer camp classroom and plan to integrate learning in fun and memorable ways. Below are 10 ways to integrate academics with your school-aged children.
1. Designate a specific time each day that your child needs to read. For young school-aged children you can read to them. For older school-aged children the best motivation for children to read is to see YOU reading!
2. Integrate technology. Make learning fun. Find out what their favorite and least favorite subjects are and find fun apps or online games for them to play. Designate an allotted amount of tech time for free choice games and if they use all of that and want to play more, they can only play educational games.
3. Take them to the library.
4. Start a family book club. Everyone reads the same chapter book and you can all discuss it at dinner or on a specific day.
5. ENCOURAGE them to read and write "the best they can." They may not know every word they read or how to spell all the words, encourage them to spell them the way they sound or to look it up. Studies show that students who learn to spell phonetically are usually better spellers in the long run.
6. Start a NOTEbook. Are you super busy? Get a notebook and write notes back and forth to your school-ager. Not only will it help you develop a relationship with your child but it will improve their writing and reading skills.
7. Let them write out your grocery list.
8. Let them read the menu at a restaurant.
9. Look up sight word games on Pinterest. If school-agers recognize sight words with automaticity they will be more fluent and comprehensive readers in the future.
10. When reading together, or even watching television together ask your school-ager comprehension questions. Some examples are: What do you think is going to happen next? Why do you think that character did XYZ?
If you try any of these or have any other good ideas to integrate learning in a fun way throughout the summer feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to try some of your ideas as well.
Until next Monday,
Mrs. Sam Brown