Your kids have jettisoned their backpacks and alarm clocks — now, it's time for picnics, playgrounds, and popsicles! That being said, they've just spent the entire school year learning new skills, and you definitely don't want them to forget everything. The summer slide, or the loss of academic skills when school is out, is more real than you might expect: As a teacher, I would typically spend the first six weeks of a new school year reviewing skills and information that students had already been taught (and mostly forgot) from the grade before.
That's why I aim to avoid the summer brain drain with my own kids, and to make it a summer brain gain instead. It doesn't have to feel like homework! These six fun and simple ideas will help make reading and writing some of your kids' favorite summer activities.
1. Let Them Explore New Subjects
During the school year, kids are busy with assigned reading. Over the summer, encourage them to find books about subjects they love, or challenge them to explore a brand new genre. When we give children a choice, they feel in control and are more willing to pick up a book and read. And they enjoy it! Research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report shows that about six in 10 kids say they love or like reading books for fun a lot. (If this makes you think it's time to to bolster your home library, here are extraordinary reads for $5 or less!)
Another great way for your child to dive into summer reading is with the Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge, a free, educational program in which your kids can enter their reading minutes to unlock exclusive digital rewards and help donate books to kids in need. Check if your child's teacher, local librarian, or community partner organization (like a youth center) is partaking in the Challenge, so your child can participate as part of a group. If not, you can sign up your child individually! To see this year's list of recommended summer reading titles by age, click here and scroll down to "Resources" or browse selections at the Scholastic Store Online.