EARLY YEARS: Preventing the “summer slide” in learning

Education advisor Dr. Suzanne Barchers says grocery shopping, travel and chores can all be opportunities to work on reading and math skills
Using bath time for "math time," or reading aloud as a family can help keep math and reading skills sharp for kids during summer break
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:17 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The lazy days of summer are what memories are made of, but it’s also a time when academic achievement from the previous year can be lost.

“It’s that period of time where kids are out of school, they’re not doing educational activities necessarily or if not, it’s scattered,” says Dr. Suzanne Barchers, an education advisor and Vice President of Curriculum at Lingokids.

It’s known as the summer slide.

Barchers says families are also still dealing with the COVID slide.

Reading and math are the subjects in which students are having the toughest time catching up, after the last two years.

“And that’s an area where parents can make a big difference during the summer with some focus on that,” says Barchers.

Trying to get children to do school work in the summer is no easy task.

For the younger set, bath time can become “math time.”

“So, if your child is taking a bath, put in plastic cups, measuring spoons, measuring cups and funnels, things like that, and talk about volume and shapes of things and just let your child play,” says Barchers.

Cooking together is another great way to help bridge the learning gap.

“Talking about fractions, volume, understanding that if you cut things up in portions, then you have halves, and fourths and eighths and things like that. It’s a good way for kids to understand and it’s a good family activity,” says Barchers.

As for reading, Barchers suggests making it a family activity:

“If you’re at home, loading the dishwasher, read aloud while these chores are going on,” says Barchers.

It doesn’t have to be textbooks, either. She says anything from chapter books to comics to young adult novels will help build vocabulary.

While out grocery shopping, or running errands, kids can improve reading and math at the same time.

“If you’re at the grocery store, have them read the signs. With older kids, have them find mistakes. You’ll see all kinds of errors on signs, I hate to say it. Apostrophes in the wrong place, and that’s a fun activity to do while doing routine things,” says Barchers.

Which means the summer classroom can be literally ANYWHERE.

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