You’ve heard the rumor: summer seems to erase bits of your child’s learning. Within a few short months, students can forget weeks’ worth of content from their English, math, and science classes. The infamous “summer slide” can have disastrous effects on student’s understanding. Worse yet, heading into the school year, classes will be building off of this very forgotten knowledge. So how do we combat the slide?
Participate in a summer reading program
Reading is fundamental to learning outcomes in nearly every classroom subject. Summer reading is an age-old means to curb the rusting of reading skills. In order for summer reading to give your child a leg up in the fall, the books they read ought to be challenging. One of the advantages of summer reading is that students aren’t confined to choosing between books only in their school’s libraries. With limitless options, students are certain to find a book they sincerely want to read. When choosing books with your student, it’s important to give them lots of freedom, as the more interested they are, the more likely they are to read. However, be sure the books your student is reading are at least at their current reading level, if not higher.
Develop Spatial skills playing games
Spatial skills are central to mathematics skills. Conveniently, many games kids love can help them further hone their spatial skills. Games like Tangram and activities like origami help students practice forming geometric constructions, which can actually enhance students’ ability to think algebraically. A group of researchers from the University of Toronto explained the large body of research that ties spatial reasoning skills to future success in math and reading. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) asserts that spatial reasoning should be a focal point of elementary and middle school math education. Even something as simple as Lego blocks can help your student in math and English later in school.
Enroll in STE(A)M summer camps
The advantages of STE(A)M summer camp enrollment for your student are plentiful. The mere routine of summer camps, with fixed schedules for a student’s day, help students transition into their more regimented fall. STEAM summer camps that focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics are extremely effective at combating summer brain drain because students have a chance to take a deep dive into new skills and increase their technology literacy. This style of summer camp provides both mental and physical stimulation as technology gets added into things that kids already love to do. These camps are also designed to foster soft skills that are important in their future work. During camp, students learn to collaborate in teams on STEAM-type work, and to communicate rigorous ideas. Tip-Top Brain offers STEAM summer camps, and has explained the value of their programs in staving off summer brain drain (you can check that out here).
Another benefit of the STEAM summer camp is that it creates a space where students can take risks without fear of grades nor academic-social dynamics, which increases student motivation. By catering to students’ individual interests, they learn independence, teamwork, and how to balance the two.
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun, but the necessity of enriching scholastic activities has been proven time and time again. Without the consistent practice of reading, writing, and math skills, students run the risk of sliding months back in their learning. This summer, with what time there is left, consider trying to grease the gears of your student’s brain before school starts. At the very least, it’ll prepare your student for scholastic thought, and ensure they get out the gate running.