Guest blog post by Windy Lopez-Aflitto from Learning Heroes
Summer break doesn’t need to mean a break from learning. On the contrary, it’s the time for learning to come alive. As parents, we can flip the script on the ‘summer slide’ and help our children stride ahead this summer.
Learning Heroes national research shows 90% of parents believe their child is at or above grade level despite only 39% of teachers saying students start the school year prepared for grade level work, as revealed in Scholastic’s Teacher and Principal School Report.
These numbers show the opportunity to see summer not as a break, but as an important and exciting transition point—the chance to set our children up for success in the next grade. This is why Learning Heroes created Summer Stride—a new resource that helps parents flip the summer slide with a simple plan.
How can you help your child stride ahead this summer?
As parents, we know our child best and can help turn their interests and hobbies into powerful learning moments. But, it isn’t always easy to keep kids engaged during the break, especially for busy working parents. Here’s a plan to help your child this summer (and have fun)!
- Know before you go! Before school lets out, ask the teacher where your child is doing well, where more support may be needed, and what you can do over the summer to set them up for success in the next grade. You can also ask them about summer program scholarships, resources and other informal enrichment opportunities that might be a good fit.
- Get a gut check. Take a few minutes to do the Readiness Check and get free videos, games, and more to support math and reading over the summer. This interactive tool shows how your child has learned foundational skills needed for the next grade and you can use it on your phone or computer whether on the go or at home.
- Strengthen life skills. Support real-world skills that help your child in and out of school. Whether it’s on the playground or at home, show your child how to problem solve, learn from mistakes, and communicate well with others, especially in tough situations. You can also help promote a ‘growth mindset’—which is when children understand they can learn more through hard work. This will help your child take on challenges with confidence—whether it’s trying a new hobby or working on a specific skill like reading.
- Let them show what they know! Make learning come alive by exploring your child’s interests. For example, if your child loves soccer, figure out the percentage of goals blocked or passes completed (there’s a lot of math in every sport)! If your child has a special collection of something they’re interested in (whether it’s rocks or stickers), ask them to compare the differences and similarities of each item. Also, as they read and play, ask them to teach you what they’re learning. This helps review important skills and build confidence.
- Discover the fun (and free) in your community. There are places and spaces to learn all around you! Check out library programs, zoos, parks, or museums to explore new interests. Talk about what you want to learn and what you enjoyed during your visit. Don’t underestimate this as a powerful way to bond as a family by learning together!
Through actions like these, parents and children can use the summer to help start the new school strong. Together we can turn the “summer slide” into a “summer stride.”
For more information on summer learning and resources for parents, visit bealearninghero.org and click here for the newly released Smarter Summers, Brighter Futures, a Summer Playbook designed for educators. Join the National Summer Learning Week celebration on July 8-13th with the hashtag #SummerLearningWeek.