Hoorah – the summer holidays are almost here! The long, carefree days are upon us – time spent away from timetables, uniforms and packed lunches.
However, as teachers we know that it is also a time where all the hard work put in during term time can be lost. Research shows that during the summer break, children lose a significant amount of what they have learned in the previous academic year; potentially resulting in a couple of months’ worth of progress being lost. Instead of moving on with new, exciting learning, lots of time is spent on catching up at the start of the next school year. One study shows that six weeks could be spent on simply getting your child back up to the level they were before the school holidays. This is known as the ‘summer slump’.
As parents, if we continue to keep our children’s learning going during the holidays, they will start back in September ready to pick up with the new school year – a huge advantage for them.
Here we share our practical tips for achieving this over the summer…
1. Don’t stop reading!
The number one tip is to keep the reading routine going. 10-15 minutes a day is enough for primary aged children and really won’t feel like too much of a chore. Aside from the academic benefits, it is a lovely way to end a busy day by curling up together with a book. Why not visit the library or a charity bookstore to choose some special books for the summer?
2. Take turns to read
You may have noticed that in tutoring sessions the tutor will often read for part of a text. This is because it is important that children see an adult model reading aloud. Making a book come alive by showing your child expressive reading not only is good for their reading and comprehension but it is a lot of fun too! If English is your second language and you don’t feel confident doing this – audio books are an excellent alternative.
Don’t just stick to the usual novels that your child normally read, try something new! Challenge your child to pick something new: a comic, a magazine, a non-fiction book or even some older children’s classics that you read as a child!
1. Keep a diary
The easiest way to continue writing practice during the summer is to keep a summer diary! To make it exciting you could buy a new special notebook that your child can decorate (make sure it contains lined paper to help with your child’s handwriting). Encourage them to scrap book any tickets or photos to make it creative and fun!
2. Little and often
Writing should not be one huge task undertaken on the last day of August – this would be counterproductive! A short burst of writing will keep it fresh and fun. Pick a writing task based on your little one’s interests, pick a book they are enjoying and write an alternative ending, or a news report about something they have seen on the news.
3. Write with a purpose
There is nothing more exciting than children seeing their work used in real life. They could write an email to a relative (or their tutor!) write the shopping list, or even write a letter to a local newspaper or politician if they have an opinion on something in the news.
Take the opportunity to practice maths in a different format this summer. Demonstrate how it is used in day-to-day life and make it fun, not a chore! The primary curriculum focuses lots on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division so this is a good place to start.
Involve your child with the food shop – get them to check the price of items, calculate the cost of a shop or the change you should receive. Even checking the receipt on the car journey home.
Give your child the responsibility of budgeting for a day out or a family holiday if you are going away. Get them to help you find out the costs before you go by researching together online and working out the total costs.
Use sporting events to talk about time and measure. Comparing the minutes of a race, talking about the distances, counting the points or scores.
If you are not sure what your child should know in maths, check out our previous blog post here, outlining each year group’s goals.
Whilst practicing your child’s reading, writing and maths is important, remember that having time to switch off, run around outdoors, play with their favourite toys and spend time with family and friends is just as important.