When my kids get off the bus on the last day of school, the last thing anyone is thinking about are the thick homework packets their teachers gave them to work on over the summer.
However, according to findings from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 7th Edition, kids know that reading provides benefits that extend well beyond the summer months. Seventy-seven percent agree that reading over the summer will help them during the school year.
One of the best ways to keep kids learning during the summer is to join the Scholastic Summer Reading-a-Palooza, a summer reading program designed to develop lifelong readers by encouraging reading for fun during the summer. This year, kids can experience the challenge through Scholastic Home Base, a free digital destination which offers stories, characters, and games, in a safe community for readers!
Through Home Base, kids can make new friends, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock book donations for kids with limited or no access to books by starting and keeping “reading streaks” when they read every day over the summer. Learn more about the challenge here!
Here are five more ways to keep kids learning and growing this summer.
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1. Let Them Get Their Game On
Math and learning skills can get rusty when kids aren’t practicing them every day. Fortunately, one way out of this dilemma is through playing games, something your child may already be eager to do over the summer. There are plenty of fun ways to learn about math, geography, history, and more through Scholastic Home Base!
Not only do games feel like a natural summer activity that make learning fun, but there are important social skills lessons to be learned from waiting your turn, following rules, and being a gracious winner.
2. Make Nature Your Classroom
Shannon Shea, a mom of two in the D.C. area, makes outdoor play time double as a lesson in earth science for her 2-year-old and 5-year-old. “We talk constantly about the types of plants and animals we see outside, the seasons, how different plants function, and how the animals and plants all relate to each other,” she says.
Head outside in search of a butterfly or hard-working ants to combine learning with fresh air. Start a discussion about where these animals live, what they eat, and how they help our ecosystem. You might just be surprised by what your kids already know, or how much you remember from your own days in class. These books about science and technology will support their learning.
3. Re-Read Favorite Books
According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report, 80 percent of kids ages 6 to 17 and 96 percent of parents agree that reading books during the summer helps fight the summer slide and leads to better performance once school’s back in session.
Make it easy by letting them pick books they love — even if they’re ones they’ve already finished. Your kids want to read Dog Man for the third time? Let them dig in! Kids are more likely to enjoy books they’ve selected than ones we’ve chosen for them, and revisiting old characters and plot points will still boost their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.
4. Encourage Creative Writing
Julie Burwell, a mom in Oak Park, Illinois, uses the family’s month-long summer vacation to help her 8-year-old daughter hone her writing skills. “We travel for a month each summer to a new place,” she explains. “Our daughter picks a new journal every year and we are pretty disciplined about making time in the morning to journal about the day before. I love the snapshot of who she is as a writer at that moment and the perspective of the memories we’ve made.”
Even if your family isn’t traveling this summer, you can encourage your child to journal about certain events — whether it’s a birthday party, family BBQ, or a day playing outside. Years from now, you and your child will enjoy looking back at those little memories together. Here are more ways to keep kids reading and writing this year.
5. Play “School”
Younger kids who still find school a novelty may miss the routine of the classroom and having regular assignments. My 6-year-old twins are big fans of pulling out the dining room chairs and lining up their stuffed toys to create their own version of school.
When I see this happening, I know it’s a good time to bring out a deck of flashcards to practice sight words or workbooks geared toward the next school year as part of the “play school” experience. You’ll feel great about squeezing in the extra practice with them, and they’ll be happy since playing school was their idea!
Shop great book sets for summer learning below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.