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Shari Gordon

In the summer, the temperature may rise but productivity is on the decline. Many factors for this include the heat, air conditioning, a lack of vacation and summer related distractions. In the US, it is estimated that 25 percent of workers feel less productive over the summer months than the rest of the year.

Research shows that just like adults, students tend to decline over the summer and lose about 25 percent of what they’ve learned during the school year. Lower income kids show additional losses, making it even more difficult to catch up by the time they go back to school. In order to balance having fun over the summer while avoiding the summer slide, educational experts agree that the best thing you can do is have your child read. Even 10 to 15 minutes a day of reading a book, magazine, game directions, the backs of cereal boxes over breakfast or a word puzzle on a kid’s menu — anytime you can incorporate reading into your child’s summer, it’s a win. Reading is an early indicator of school success so if you have a toddler or preschooler, it’s never too soon to start reading to your child. For older kids, let them show off their abilities by reading to a younger sibling or to an adult or parent!

It’s also easy to tie in math, science and technology into summertime by a trip to the playground, art project, music making, visit to a zoo or hands on museum or outdoor science experiment. Everyday life offers great opportunities for summer learning as well– you can cook together and have your child read the recipe to you and measure out the ingredients, brushing up on both reading and math skills. Try organizing a lemonade stand allowing your kids to determine the right amount of water, ice and lemons for the perfect mix while teaching the values of coins plus making some money along the way!

Get a reasonably priced journal or notebook and a pencil or pen and encourage your child to jot down some of their summertime activities or a favorite part of a day trip or vacation. Journal writing involves both thinking and writing skills and by putting summer experiences into words and/or pictures, it will become a more lasting memory for your child.

As a parent, you don’t have to give up fun in the sun to steer your child away from the summer slump. Adopt that use it or lose it attitude and make the rest of the summer count in ways that build up your child and strengthen your family!

Shari Gordon is Volunteer and Parent Support Groups director at Children’s Aid Society.

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