The months that stretch between the last day of school and the first day of the next year are full of summer fun; however, they also provide an opportunity for kids to forget much of what they learned in school the previous year, which is known as summer learning loss. Many schools spend the first several weeks of the year reviewing in order to re-teach information that kids forgot from the previous grade. Summer literacy activities can help reduce the amount of information your child forgets and keep them learning all summer long.
Aside from putting your kids in summer school, is there something you can do to prevent the summer brain drain? If you incorporate activities into playtime that support literacy and other concepts, the answer to this question is a resounding: yes! Kids want to play during the summer, and with the right activities, they will have so much fun that they won't even realize they are developing academic skills.
Summer Literacy Activities
There's no need for your child's reading level to slip over the summer. Try some of these fun literacy activities to keep your kids' reading skills up to date.
Utilize the Library
Public libraries offer all sorts of summer reading activities to further children's literacy. Check with your local library to see if they offer any of the following:
- Children's story times
- Reading camps
- Reading challenge
- Special summer reading activities
Even if your library does not offer summer activities, making a regular appointment to visit the library with your kids every week can generate excitement about learning. Share your favorite age-appropriate books with your children, and ask them to do the same for you. Children's librarians also have an extensive knowledge of children's literature, and they may have recommendations that dovetail with your children's individual interests. By maintaining a regular flow of books in your home throughout the summer, you will be encouraging literacy.
Read with Your Kids
Reading to your children remains one of the best ways to encourage literacy. Even older children enjoy sitting down with a parent and sharing in family reading time. Choose classic or modern stories that you read in serial fashion. If you leave off at just the right point in the story, your children will eagerly await the next session. Some books you may enjoy reading with your kids include:
- Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
- Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park
- Harry Potter books by JK Rowling
- Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Many books also have movies associated with them. Read the book together, and then watch the movie and discuss the differences.
Write a Story
Writing a story as a family is an enjoyable way to spend time together while encouraging literacy. Spend time developing a character or characters, and then create a story or series of stories about that character. Have each person read his stories to the family at story time.
Use the Internet
Computers and the Internet provide wonderful resources that encourage literacy. Your kids will think they are playing while you will know that they are learning. Younger children may enjoy reading websites such as the Sesame Street website, while older kids might enjoy Knowledge and Adventure.
Create a Newspaper
Plan and write a family or neighborhood newspaper or website with your kids. Have them seek out stories and take pictures using a simple, template-based free website like Weebly. Everyone can contribute to the storytelling, writing, and editing.
Set an Example
Let your kids see you reading. If they see that you read and enjoy books, they are more likely to pursue the activity as well. Set aside family reading time where everyone (including you!) can read her own book.
Maintaining Reading Level
These are just a few of the many activities parents can pursue in the summer with children in order to encourage literacy. There's no need for your children to lose their reading skills over the summer. With a little encouragement from you, they'll return to school in the fall reading at the same level, or maybe even a higher level than they did in June.