Summer learning loss, i.e. the loss of academic skills and knowledge during summer break, has been a hot topic for many years. While the recent literature on summer learning loss is mixed, according to a recent NY Times article most students have experienced setbacks due to the shift to remote this spring as schools closed due to COVID-19. Academic gains seem to have disappeared; this can be discouraging for both students and parents. It’s especially important in the summer of 2020, that we as parents and therapists make sure that we promote learning over the summer as best we can. Here are a few ideas of how you can support your children this summer and also make up some of those academic losses:
Create a learning schedule. Children respond well to visuals as well as routine. If you set aside the same time each day to work on academic skills (i.e. reading, math, writing), your child may be more willing to participate. For example, if your child knows that she will read independently after breakfast or before bedtime, she will have an easier time transitioning from one activity to the next. You can create your own weekly calendar to show your child what day/time you will work on each subject. White boards are great for this! You can also use a monthly calendar. You can help your child feel more accomplished by encouraging her to cross off or erase the subject/activity that was completed!
Encourage reading for pleasure. Letting your child pick books they want to read will be beneficial when it comes to reading for pleasure. It may be helpful to pre-select books so that your child picks a book that matches his reading level. If you aren’t sure what your child’s reading level is, ask his teacher! Reading assessments are done throughout the school year so the teacher should have a good sense of what reading level to recommend.
Read to your children. This was an all-time favorite activity of mine as a child, and it’s a tradition that I have continued with my own children. Set aside special time to read to your children. You can find books about topics that interest your children OR share some of your favorites from your childhood. Choose books that are slightly more challenging than the books written for your child’s age or reading level. By doing so, they will be able to further develop their knowledge as well as their vocabulary. Remember to read slowly and occasionally check in with your child by asking questions to make sure they understand the story.
Educational games. Children can also learn indirectly through various games. If your child is resistant to learning during the summer, introducing games may be a good place to start. Games can be used to promote vocabulary development, problem solving, reasoning, asking/answering questions, etc. A few of our favorite games include:
- Guess Who
- Apples to Apples (or Apples to Apples Jr.)
- 5 Second Rule
- Head Banz
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, reach out to us! Schedule a free phone consultation or click the “get started” button below to inquire about services and insurance coverage for your child.