Summer: a Time to Relax or a Time to Practice?
As parents, we may wonder whether it’s best to let our kids relax and de-stress from school work or do some review work to help them be prepared for the next school year. What is the best choice to make?
I believe the best choice is to have our children do some review work over the summer to prepare for the next school year. Some ways they can review or practice includes reading 20 minutes a day, working on math problems covered the previous school year, and helping your child with any problem areas they had during the school year such as grammar or spelling. If there is something specific your child had trouble mastering during the year, you should definitely focus on revisiting that.
You can make summer learning fun by taking your child to the library or bookstore to select books they want to read over the summer that are on their reading level. Based on your child’s reading level, you can decide how many books he/she can read over the summer. Libraries and schools can supply you with a summer reading list based on your child’s school grade. Your local library or your child’s school may also provide incentives for reading a certain number of books or doing a reading project. Be sure to monitor your child’s reading by asking them questions about their book. These can be simple questions such as: What is your favorite part of the book? What is the plot? What do you think will happen next?
Not only is deciding what our children should do over the summer a choice we need to make, but one we need to stick to. This can be challenging with summer trips, sleep-overs, and other fun summer plans. Still, it is important to keep our children’s brains stimulated over the summer so they do not forget some of the concepts they learned throughout the school year. It is okay to steer from the plan when summer trips arrive but getting right back to it afterwards is important. Try sticking to a routine such as working on school work after breakfast and allowing for breaks in between subjects. You can also set a specific amount of time you want them to spend on practice work and then have them stop when they reach that time limit.
Some concepts that can easily be forgotten are the last concepts they were introduced to at the end of the school year. Ask your child what these were or check their school curriculum guide which can be found on the school district's website. Looking over what they will need to learn the next school year is also helpful in understanding where they are and where they will be headed.
Staying on top of our children’s learning is the key to having a successful school year. It’s never too late to start!
About Ann Navarro
Ann has teaching experience working with elementary students in the areas of bilingual education, dual language, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ann holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist Concentration. She also has experience evaluating lesson plans for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, Ann enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and reading.