“School’s Out for the Summer” Ahhh–the lyrics of this Alice Cooper song ring true and are filled with excitement and happiness for kids and the entire family. Dreams of days filled with friends, family, vacations, lake and beach days, days at the pool, sports camps, all spell freedom and fun. Not to ruin this wonderful scenario, however, now that we are in the thick of summer, it is about the time that maybe the kids are beginning to fight a bit, and frankly starting to get a tad bit bored. It is this time during the summer that I also remember the teacher’s warning, “Don’t forget to read, don’t forget those math facts…etc!” Oops. I always have good intentions with making sure the kids do their summer learning.
So, with about a month left of the summer, perhaps it is time to prioritize setting aside time to have my children read each day. As the teachers explain the last week of school, following the reading schedule during the summer will pay huge dividends once the school bells ring again. It has been proven that if kids would read for fifteen to thirty minutes a day, during the day, throughout the summer, the benefits are astounding for later reading and concept skills. Actually, reading for enjoyment will fit right into those ‘lazy, hazy days of summer’ that are beginning to pop up at our house. It might be a good idea to take a trip to the local bookstores or the nearby community library and check out which books of interest the kids want to read. Another option is the school reading program…somewhere in the big pile of papers from the last day of school there was an explanation of the program, it might be time to pull that out. After all, what they are truly interested in is a huge first step to summer enrichment reading.
Once the reading is done in a quiet, cool room or even at the pool or beach side under the big, colorful umbrella, or in the car to and from the many fun excursions, then there is one final quick step. Taking a couple of minutes of sharing what they just read will certainly do the trick. Talking about the reading concepts and the stories themselves can even be shared with a sibling…or maybe even the family dog.
Math skills too can be worked on during these summer days. Only three to four math problems will keep the concepts fresh. Sometimes parents use a math workbook that you can also find at bookstores, or at local teachers’ stores, which will supplement math skills. Math workbooks are set up for academic levels that are appropriate for the grade level(s) of the child. These math skills will prepare for the next school year and will be highly rewarding as the school year begins.
From creative writing to grammar skills, to science projects, children’s museum visits, and other visits to historical monuments, all will actually constitute educational summer learning enrichment and those days can be intermixed with the reading days if desired. All will strengthen and improve learning skills with will help minimize the learning digression that most students experience when the school year actually begins. The rewards for these few minutes each day to review concepts, and practice reading and math will truly be worth it. So if you are like my kids and haven’t done much yet this summer (shhh– don’t tell their new teachers), it’s not too late. Procrastinators of summer learning unite, starting Monday…?