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Summer is here which means a break from school (yay!). While your mind probably automatically goes to beach, sun, and sand, for students that are struggling or need a little extra practice this is a great opportunity to catch up. Here are some of my favorite resources that have worked well for my family.
Note: I feel like I have to add a little disclaimer here… I am by no means suggesting your child should sit and do school work for 8 hours per day during the summer. He or she needs a chance to ride a bike, go swimming, and chase fireflies. Up to an hour per day should be plenty (depending on their age and the number of subjects you want to focus on). Keep in mind that many children who struggle with school often grow to hate it. The goal for the summer is to make learning fun and interesting so no one involved is miserable.
Top resources for summer extra practice:
One of the best ways to help your child master reading to read to them and with them. Take them to the library and help them pick out books that are on their level and some that are slightly above. If you want help picking out just right books you can ask a librarian and read these tips.
Once you have your books, it’s time to set aside uninterrupted quiet time to read. As adults when a child comes to a word they do not know, our first response is often to say, “sound it out.” I’ve done it too, but this is usually not helpful. Instead, the very first thing you need to do is wait. Give them time to try to figure it out. After you have waited you can point out context clues (if it is a picture book). Help them stretch out the word and look at the letters and look for words they do know within it. For example, because can be broken down into be and cause. You can also preread the book and find the words you know they will struggle with. You can work on a few of those words with them beforehand. You can go here to more strategies to use.
If they come to more than 1 or 2 words per sentence that they don’t know, that book is too hard and everyone is going to be frustrated so come back to it later in the summer. Also keep in mind that the goal is for them to comprehend what they are reading so there is no need to fuss over every word.
Here are some great sites to help further their reading skills:
In addition to reading to them and with them, the a great thing you can do to encourage early literacy skills is to… let them write! Which brings us to our next point.
The more you can incorporate writing into their everyday life the better. Write letters to grandma, write shopping lists, write instructions, etc. Try to focus on things that interest them and do not correct every mistake in their writing. It’s best to focus on one or two things per piece that they can work on (like punctuation or capitalization). Most importantly, do not obsess over spelling because invented spelling is a great part of early literacy. Refuse to spell words for them and instead encourage them to stretch it out like bubble gum. You can go here for many helpful tips on invented spelling.
Journal Buddies is a great site for writing prompts. They have thousands of writing and journaling prompts and ideas so you are sure to find plenty that suit your child’s interest.
The key to math is to practice. You can use everyday objects that you have around the house to count, add, and subtract throughout the day. You can also play board games like Chutes & Ladders (practice with numbers 1-100) and Hi Ho Cherry-O (basic math skills). For older children, Monopoly is a great option. The more authentic ways you can incorporate math into everyday life the better. One of my personal favorites is to let them help coupon and figure out how much things will be.
A great site for math is Math Playground. It’s electronic and game based which automatically makes it appealing to most children. There are activities for 1st grade to 7th grade.
For older students, Cool Math has pre-algebra, algebra, and pre-calculus.
Funbrain – preschool through 8th grade and focuses on all subject areas
Agnitus – preschool through 3rd grade and has curriculum based games & books
FarFaria – over 1,000 books
BrainPOP/BrainPOP Jr – kindergarten through 12th grade with games & videos on all subjects
Starfall – great for young readers & preschoolers
What are your favorite educational resources?
See tips for homeschool preschool.