Kristine Scharaldi, Education Consultant

Kid-Friendly Tips to Prevent the Summer Slide

This week we have another guest blog post from Kristine Scharaldi, an education consultant and instructional coach with a specialization in the fields of educational technology, Mind-Brain-Education, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and 21st Century Skills/Global Education.

Summertime learning does not have to look like school learning to be valuable. Instead of working through a packet of worksheets, kids can spend time doing activities that they are interested in while developing literacy in authentic ways. The freedom and flexibility that summer brings opens up added possibilities for informal, exploratory, and playful learning. Here are suggestions to encourage students to continue reading and writing while in “summer mode”.


Build Background Knowledge and Vocabulary

Summertime provides plenty of opportunities for students to expand background knowledge and vocabulary, two very important components that support literacy. Getting out of the normal school-year routine allows kids to take in different sights and sounds, and time to immerse themselves in activities more deeply.

Going to new places and trying new things will help kids construct knowledge and learn new words. Reading might include brochures and how-to books, and writing can be on postcards and in journals. Promote reading and writing all summer long as part of travels, visits, hobbies and projects.


Create Irresistibility

With all the fun options summer brings, it can be challenging for reading and writing to be a regular habit. Find ways to increase the likelihood that kids will choose to read or write for enjoyment.

Gather colorful paper, markers and other appealing materials. Take a trip to a discount store for items such as glitter gel pens and cute book lights that add flair to summer literacy activities. Get a variety of books, magazines, and writing implements and place them all over the environment (including the car, kitchen, and anywhere else kids will be). Offer books and writing supplies in a gift-wrapped box for a special touch (do this at different points throughout the summer to boost interest and anticipation). And, dedicate efforts to making literacy a family affair--when the whole family reads for pleasure, whether it is sitting at the beach or relaxing on the porch, it can help shape positive student attitudes about reading.


Take Advantage of Available Resources

During the busy school year it might be hard to visit the local library on a regular basis. The summer is a fantastic time to go and access a whole world of books, resources, and activities (for free and low cost)!

Discover new favorites among the large variety of materials available for learning and entertainment. Encourage kids to ask the librarian to recommend popular authors, titles, and genres to explore. Many libraries also offer summer programs to participate in, such as book clubs and storytimes. Bookstores, cafes, and community events can also offer great possibilities to engage students in literacy-related experiences over the summer.


Specific project ideas for the summer that can be adapted for any age:

Create a Recipe Book
Decide on a food theme (could be family/cultural special recipes, collection of favorite desserts, or own “invented” recipes) and gather recipes to include. Decide how to publish it (ie. handwrite, type). Kids can make the recipes and take pictures of the finished dishes to add to the book. Kids can write an introductory paragraph telling why each recipe was chosen. 

Write a Script
Create a play or skit. (It does not have to be completely original--it could be a retelling or a new story about familiar characters.) Describe the setting in each scene and be sure to have the name of the character listed for every part of dialogue. It can be fun to act it out live with family and friends, or with puppets!

Plan something fun 
Brainstorm ideas for an event or trip (it could be actual or imagined for the future, such as an ideal vacation). Determine a budget and research related information through various means (ie. brochures, maps, websites). Create a write-up with a schedule of activities that includes what to do, when and the location.

Make a Summer Memory Book
Record summer memories in a blank book (or electronically in a blog). Collect photographs and artifacts (ie. ticket stubs, stickers) to attach to the pages/posts. Write captions telling about each item. Kids could also draw their ideas and reflections. Add to the book throughout summer break. 

Perform for Fluency
Find a poem to learn, or choose a part of a favorite story or play. (Caroline Kennedy offers recommendations in her book Poems to Learn by Heart). Practice and memorize reading the piece aloud. Kids may use Texthelp's Fluency Tutor® for GoogleTM to record readings and hear progress over the course of the summer. Share the reading with others during a live or recorded performance. 

Do you want to use Fluency Tutor to encourage your students to read this summer? Install it today to start your 30-day free trial!


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