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It’s a long way down the summer slide. Reaching the bottom can be disappointing for parents and educators.
The summer slide is not a funky new dance move, it’s not even a fun slide that plops you into the pool on a summer day. The summer slide is a phenomenon, where your child's brain's elasticity actually shrinks (yikes!) because of the lack of continuous rigor and practice. Your child goes back to school in the fall, having forgotten a lot of what she/he has learned before the summer break.
We want our kiddos to soak up the sun, drink cold lemonade, play in the sand and splash their way through the summer. We also want them to retain the precious knowledge before the summer break. I asked several educators to help us, parents, find a way to avoid the summer slide.
Here is what they told me.
1. For Kindergarteners: "Consistently expose the child to learning experiences so that they retain what they learn. Distraction form TV, video games and other external noises can have a negative impact on the child's focus and learning experience. Assign a specific time and place daily to practice. Practice makes progress. My students going into first grade, are required to read a list of books over the summer (we like the BoB Books to start and then short chapter books). Practice phonics, consonants, vowels, sight words, addition, subtraction and so on and so forth with your child ." - Marijan Kevorkian, Director of C & E Merdinian Preschool
2. For Preschoolers: “Go over the alphabet using flashcards with pictures. Find words that start with each of the letters. For older children, write a word with missing letters and have them fill in the missing letters. You can use flashcards for shapes, colors, and objects. Kids love these games and they stay focused.” – Sossie Mnbbahseredjian, preschool teacher at C & E Merdinian Preschool
3. For Kindergartners: "Sing songs, recite the alphabet and play games. Point out letters, words, and numbers in their environment. For example, when you are at the market point out all the prices, weight, shapes, colors and names. Have them count the produce." – Hermine Kurchian, kindergarten teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School
4. For All Ages: “Reading is key. Read for at least 20 minutes a day. After reading, have the child draw or write something based on what they have read." - Hermineh Markosyan, Assistant Principal at Kittridge Elementary School
5. For All Ages: “I have done this every year for my own children and it works wonders. First, you have a family meeting and have the kids write down all the things they would like to do, have or places they would like to go. Then, decide on all the assignments they have to complete, like reading, math, writing, Armenian, etc. Then assign a point value to everything. When they collect enough points doing their assignments, they can apply those points towards a reward. It’s fun and exciting for them.” – Seda Garayan Abajian, mother of four and teacher at St. Sarkis Armenian Saturday School
6. Grade 3 and Up: "Take the kids out on an adventure, the park, the zoo or beach. Take a notebook with you and have them observe their surroundings. Have them write in their notebook, describing and explaining what they are experiencing using their 5 senses. What do they see, hear, smell, feel and taste? If the child is younger, have them draw instead of writing." - Karmen Garabekyan, a teacher at James A. Foshay Learning Center (grades 9-10)