Stop the Summer Slide and Brain Drain

It's tough to focus on reading and learning when the school break is packed with distractions and diversions....



The school year is almost complete and summer is just around the corner. Your students won’t have to see the inside of a classroom for a couple of months. Unfortunately, 8 weeks without practice is a long time, especially for struggling readers. Often students forget some of what they've learned over the past school year during the summer months.

Top education experts have a few tips for teachers and parents to help their students avoid the summer brain drain and make warm weather reading easy and a lot of fun!

  • Explore your local library. Find out when it is open and how to get a library card. Many libraries even have free summer programs and offer online books. The American Library Association has great tips to make the most of your student's trip to the library.
  • Encourage your student to read at least four to six books over the summer break. Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. Make sure the material is age appropriate and match the child's interest and abilities.  Libraries often run summer reading programs that motivate kids to read, so find out what's available in your area.
  • Read daily. Encourage your child to read something every day. Parents can help identify opportunities such as the newspaper, a magazine, TV guide, recipes, arts and crafts book, read to a sibling or friend, share a comic strip, while out in the car select a billboard or ad, even a license plate. You don't have to search far. The opportunities to read are endless.
  • Talk with your child's teacher. They can provide suggestions of grade level books and resources. Also, check a few book list recommendations.

  • Read to your student. Reading aloud benefits all students, especially those who need help improving their reading skills. Listening will help a child build listening comprehension skills with grade-level and above books. This will knowledge and expand their experience with text. This will help them when reading alone.
  • Make it fun. Encourage parents, of students ages 5-12, to get involved in the The Scholastic Summer Challenge. It’s a free global reading program aimed at encouraging students to read throughout the summer months. Kids read books, log their minutes, and earn virtual rewards all summer Active Bodies, Active Minds.

Here are a few more suggestions to get started:

74 Creative Ways to Stop Summer Brain Drain

Tips for students with learning disabilities

 

Encourage summer learning. Try these great websites for kids

Elementary School: Grades K-5

These sites are robust enough to be used across the grade levels. Of course younger students will need some help navigating and reading instructions.

  • Game Goo – An interactive set of games designed to build upon each other. Start at the bottom for younger students and move up through the games.
  • FunBrain.com – FunBrain offers something for every student. Educational games have different levels so the practice can be customized. The site has areas dedicated to math and reading.
  • Smithsonian Institute for Kids – Take a closer look at these engaging online exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution covering art, science & nature, history & culture and people & places.
  • Houghton-Mifflin Math – A fun place to play games to strengthen your math skills. Arranged by grade level.

Lower Elementary: Grades K-2

  • Fishing with Phonics – Help Garfield catch the most fish, and in the process practice your beginning and ending sounds.
  • PBSKids.org – Be sure to check out all your favorite PBSKids shows like Word Girl, Between the Lions, Super Why, Sid the Science Guy, Maya and Miguel and more. Many activities don't require reading abilities, but some do.
  • PictureMatch – Sort the pictures into the correct box based on the beginning-letter sounds, short-vowel sounds or long-vowel sounds.
  • StarFall Phonics – Perfect for pre-readers and beginning readers, this site takes a systematic phonics approach and combines it with phonemic awareness practice.
  • Up to Ten – Fun site for kids “up to 10.” Solve jigsaw puzzles, color online, improve your coordination and more.

Upper Elementary: Grades  3-5

  • America’s Story – Presented by the Library of Congress, students will get caught up in the interactivity of the site as they Meet Amazing Americans, Jump Back in Time, Explore the States, Join America at Play and See, Hear and Sing. Check it out.
  • FactMonster – Discover this well-organized, kid-friendly resource for fun facts and outstanding games and quizzes.
  • KidsReads – Looking for a few good books this summer? Check out this site with reviews and recommendations as well as sections devoted to popular book series.
  • MathPlayground – Created by a math teacher, this site offers games that require specific and complex skills, logic puzzles and an amazing supply of word problems. The games use manipulatives to help make even the most abstract math concepts clear.
  • PBSKids Go! – While it shares some content from the PBSKids site geared toward younger elementary students, this site has a look and feel to engage the over 8 crowd. In addition to PBS character sections (Maya and Miguel, Word Girl) there are terrific sections dedicated to the American Experience: Wayback, Democracy Project, History Detectives and more.
  • National Park Service Web Rangers – Complete more than 4 dozen activities—puzzles, mysteries, quizzes, etc.—to earn your “WebRanger” status. The activities vary in difficulty level and topic (parks, animals, nature, people, history, science and puzzles).

Middle School: Grades 6-8

  • CoolMath.com – Don’t lose those hard-earned math skills this summer. Check out Cool Math to practice pre-algebra and algebra.
  • MathPlayground – Created by a math teacher this site offers games that require specific and complex skills, logic puzzles and an amazing supply of word problems. The games use manipulatives to help make even the most abstract math concepts clear. Tops include fractions, multiplication, percentages and more.
  • National Park Service Web Rangers – Complete more than 4 dozen activities—puzzles, mysteries, quizzes, etc.—to earn your “WebRanger” status. The activities vary in difficulty level and topic (parks, animals, nature, people, history, science and puzzles).
  • Smithsonian Institute for Kids – Take a closer look at these engaging online exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution covering art, science & nature, history & culture and people & places.
  • TeenReads – The summer is a great time to read what YOU want. Check out this site for hundreds of book reviews, information on the most popular series, lists of the best graphic novels and the Ultimate Reading List. Everyone can find a good book on this site.

More Helpful Resources: 


Reading Lists

NEA Booklists

RIF Reading Lists

MISC Lists

Association for Library Service to Children  summer reading lists for Kindergarten to 8th grade, created by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

GREAT WEBS WITH GREAT IDEAS




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