[Summer Learning] 4 Tips to Keep Your Child On Track for the New School Year

Friday, July 22, 2016 -- Megan Sternke

Summer is more than halfway over, and that means the start of school is just around the corner. Have all the opportunities for fun in the sun left little time for learning in your household—and left you asking if your child will be prepared to go back to school in just a few short weeks? No need to fear! There is still plenty of time left in this summer vacation to make sure that your child stays on track for success in the new school year!

Read Every Day

It has been proven time and again that the best way to combat summer learning loss is by reading every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. However, as many parents know, finding the time to set aside for reading can be harder than expected during the summer. Between summer camps, sports teams, family vacations, arts programs, and the many other activities children are involved in, summer days fill up quickly. One way to prioritize time for reading is to connect it back to your child’s other activities and interests. Provide your child with books about the sports they participate in, instruments they play, or actors they admire. If the family has plans like a trip to the zoo, read a couple of books about the animals you’ll see together, or find a story about the destination of your next family road trip.

Reading aloud to your child is another wonderful way to reinforce reading comprehension and high-level vocabulary. In fact, experts recommend reading to your child until at least 6th grade, even though many parents stop this practice around 2nd grade. You can also help your child work on his or her reading comprehension by encouraging writing regularly. A few simple ways to incorporate writing are to have your child journal about the day, write a letter to out-of-town family or friends, or author a short story (if your child is unsure of where to start, write it together!).

Practice Math

It can be a bit more challenging to incorporate math practice throughout the summer compared to reading and writing. However, practicing math in the summer months is just as critical to your child’s success during the school year—especially given that math learning losses are typically steeper over the summer than reading losses. Having your child complete just three or four math problems a day is enough to keep him or her on par with grade level for when he or she returns to school. It’s easy to find workbooks of math problems at your local bookstore, or you can try an online program like Study Island for Home for more structured practice. There are also plenty of easy, unstructured ways to incorporate math into your child’s daily routine. Try introducing your child to fractions by cooking together, or help him or her run a lemonade stand to practice handling money and carrying out basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication.  

Get Back on a Schedule

One of the biggest struggles of back-to-school time for both parents and children is getting back on a schedule. Why not ease some of the pain now by starting to gradually shift your child back into the school routine? Start by waking him or her up a little earlier each day until he or she is getting up at the time necessary during the school year. It’s also important to make sure that your child has a bedtime routine that allows him or her to get plenty of sleep to support the amount of learning he or she will soon need to accomplish in school. Finally, begin to adjust your family’s meal times to match what they will be when your child returns to school—being hungry in the classroom can easily be a distraction for a young student. Establishing a schedule like this now will help your child feel more comfortable once school starts and make the transition that much easier for you too.

Talk to the Teacher

One of the best ways to make sure that your child starts off the school year on the right foot is by talking to his or her new teacher. The teacher will be able to fill you in on what’s included in the fall curriculum so that you know what to help your child prepare for. In addition, your child’s teacher will be able to recommend additional resources to keep your child’s mind active for the remainder of summer break. Even a brief check-in with your child’s teacher could go a long way in getting your child ahead of the game for when school starts, instead of simply maintaining or regaining his or her previous skills.

Ready to take full advantage of the last weeks of summer to make sure that your child is prepared to go back to the classroom? Give your child the practice needed with engaging lessons, activities, and games from Study Island for Home! Learn more, or start your free 10-day trial here!