This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Preventing (or minimizing) Summer Setback

What is "summer setback"? Simply put, summer setback is the lack of learning that happens to kids over summer break. A two year study found that all students had a slower gain of knowledge over the summer. The study also found that some students still have scores rise while others actually lower scores.

So how do you prevent the loss of skills?

As has been discussed on this blog, even we parents don't want to put all the gung-ho effort into learning activities that we do during a normal "school year." We are busy and we want a break. But taking a full break from learning activities can be detrimental to children.

There is good news.

I recently read The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (which I absolutely love and 100% recommend...but more on that in another post). In it, he briefly discusses summer setback and ways to prevent it. Here are the factors that prevent/minimize summer setback (pages 87-89):
  • Model: model reading. This means that you read when your kids can see you read.
  • Offer reading space: provide space for reading.
  • Variety: provide a variety of reading materials. Examples are magazines, newspapers, and books.
  • Bookstore/Library: visit the bookstore and/or library. See Library Day!
  • Vacation: a vacation or summer camp out of town provides new experiences. They meet new people and see new things. This increases background knowledge and teaches new vocabulary words.
  • Educational programs: when you watch TV and videos (and even listen to the radio), watch educational and informational programs.
  • Read to child: Read to the child daily. See Simple Summer Fun: Reading. See also literacy blog label for more posts.
  • Encourage child to read: even if your child can't "read," he or she can sit and look at books or magazines.
  • Field Trips: visit the fire stations, museums, the zoo, etc. See Simple Summer Fun: The Zoo and Simple Summer Fun: Museums
Do many of those look familiar to posts from the "simple summer" series, as well as other posts from the summer? I have linked related posts in each bullet.

Why write this post now, at the end of the summer? Several reasons. One is that I just read this book last week, so the subject wasn't at my forefront. Another is I know if I wait until next May, I will forget all about it. Another is I hope that you will read this now and somehow remember it next summer and turn to it. Finally, because I know I am kind of a little nervous about summer setback in my own child. I do remember being aware of summer setback in myself. But this is a simple list. It involves easy things to do, and many of them are on the Simple Summer list, so perhaps it can help ease our (or my) own worries a bit.

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