With only a few days left of the school year in most districts, classrooms are full of the “almost summer break,” anticipation. Kids are daydreaming about not having homework, staying up late at sleepovers, and sleeping in until noon (Ok…maybe I’m daydreaming about that last one as well). Unfortunately for many kids, the eight weeks that they spend carefree and having fun in the sun, signify a significant drop in academic stamina and sometimes even skills. Today I want to share some of the tips and resources I give my students and their parents at the end of the school year, to help prevent the summer slump.
I expect my students to read every day. I would love it if by the end of the school year, their intense passion for reading is so strong, that they never go a day in the summer without reading a book. I’m also not insane, and I understand that this isn’t the most common occurrence. I do tell my students and their parents, however, that it is important to keep up their reading stamina and fluency throughout the summer, otherwise it’ll be a lot more difficult to get back in the swing of things once the school year starts back up (especially for my kids who are on their way to middle school). The best resource to help students keep reading throughout the summer is your local public library. Many public libraries offer summer reading incentives, fun activities and events, and even internet access for those who do not have it at home. Check out the King and Pierce County library system here, to find information for families about opportunities that they can take advantage of.
I know that many of my students spend hours upon hours online each day; whether it be on a computer or even on their phones. I recommend a few websites to parents that my students are already familiar with the school year. Sites like www.thatquiz.com are completely free, and parents or teachers are able to assign specific skills (mostly math) for their child to work on. That Quiz also offers some vocabulary, geography, and science activities as well. For younger readers, I’ve seen great engagement with www.starfall.com. Starfall offers leveled reading, for mainly a K-2 audience, with both fiction and non-fiction selections. Kids are able to flip through the digital books, click on individual words to be read aloud, or have the whole book read to them. Most of our kids will willingly do anything you ask if it involves some computer time. These website provide learning activities that feel like games, which will engage and help keep our kids’ brains working in an academic way over their two month hiatus from school. Check out more recommended reading, math, music and arts, and research websites here.
It’s June, and we all are looking forward to a well-deserved break after a long and productive year in the classroom. Although it’s a time for rest and rejuvenation, if school children do not at the very least READ throughout the summer, many will have a difficult time readjusting to the academic demands of the school year come September. There are truly never enough minutes in the day, or days in the school year to work with our students, so there is little time to waste at the beginning of the year building children’s stamina up from zero. As the school year wraps up, don’t hesitate to urge your students to keep learning and thinking throughout the summer by sending this information home on a note to parents, add it to your classroom blog, or even add some info at the end of your report card comments! Just imagine if our kiddos came to us on day one not only refreshed and re-energized, but with even more knowledge than when they left us in June!