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Preventing the summer slide

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Parents often complain about summer because it is the most difficult time to keep their children busy. Teachers are also concerned about children suffering from the "summer slide." That's the tendency for kids to forget reading and other skills they learned in school during the summer. Children can lose a whole grade-level's worth of skills in the summer, requiring them to put in extra time in the fall to catch up with their peers at school.

What can you, as parents, do to prevent the summer slide?  Keep your children engaged in learning. Try getting them involved in educational programs and activities during the summer months . Here are some things you can do to prevent your children from experiencing the summer slide.

  • Have your children make a summer reading pledge. Scholastic summer reading challenge is a program that allows kids to track their reading hours.
  • Get your child to take the Summer math challenge, from MetaMetrics. You’ll get daily emails with fun math activities and resources.
  • Ask your children’s school about any summer programs that they offer.
  • Look into your local youth-serving organizations such as 4-H, Boys/Girl Scouts, Boys/Girls Club, and YMCA to see if they offer summer programs. For more information on Minnesota 4-H, visit Try 4-H!
  • Explore your local library’s summer programs. Your local library may offer a wide range of programs from reading to teaching kids about other topics like using computers or bike and swimming safety.
  • Contact your local museums and parks and recreation departments to find out about their free or low-cost summer programs for kids. If you’re in the Twin Cities, check out the smARTPass program that is open to metro public library users.
  • Look into your local TV or radio station or post office, to see if they offer free or low-cost tours.
  • Identify a local organization that provides short-term volunteer opportunities for the whole family. For more information on volunteering with your family, visit Volunteering: A learning opportunity.

Use your imagination to give your children fun learning experiences during the summer. You’ll find making small efforts now will yield big benefits for them in the future.

Looking for more ideas? Check out the related resources listed below.

Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension educator in family resiliency

Reviewed in 2018

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