Now that summer is here, the kids are playing outside, going to summer camp, visiting the grandparents, or playing video games. No matter how kids spend their time this summer, it’s important that they don’t return to school having forgotten all they learned the school year before. Studies show that kids can lose one month of overall learning over the summer, and approximately two months of just reading and math skills. This translates to the first few weeks of the new school year concentrating on relearning old information, rather than learning new information.
While summer is about having fun, there are plenty of ways your kids can maintain an education while still being entertained. One easy way is to incorporate reading into their summer routines. Books and e-readers can be taken anywhere and they will be reinforcing reading skills while the kids enjoy the story.
There are several books that tell fascinating stories, but also teach kids about history, culture and vocabulary as well. When looking for books to read consider not just the kids age, but their interests as well. Do they have a favorite animal, school subject, or place? Chances are, there’s a book somewhere about it.
While you don’t want to choose a book that is beyond their comprehension, you don’t want to limit them to books only in their age group. Choosing a book geared towards slightly older kids is a great way to expand their reading capability. If you’d like to stick to the classics, there are plenty that should still interest modern kids.
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder- These books follow the true story of a little girl, Laura, and her family as they move from their cabin in the woods to the vast prairies of America’s pioneer days. The family encounters wild animals and harsh conditions, but also meets good friends along the way.
The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery- This series tells the tale of a creative young orphan girl adopted by an elderly brother and sister living on Prince Edward Island in Canada. As she adapts to life on their farm, she makes friends even as she shocks and enchants the locals with her vivid imagination and spirit.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak -This picture book is great for readers around five to ten who love adventures and crazy creatures. The protagonist, a young boy named Max, finds both as he sails away from home to an island where he is crowned king.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle -Recently made into a movie, this is the first book in a series, though can be read alone. A young girl, Meg, finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic fight between good and evil while she overcomes personal struggles and attempts to save her family.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -Made into three movies, this book is actually a fairly quick read and written on a younger level then the sequels, The Lord of the Rings. It’s a wonderful book for kids who are looking for something more challenging to read. The rich fantasy story deals with an ordinary person, Bilbo ,who gets swept into a quest to retrieve treasure from a vengeful dragon. Along the way, he learns a great deal about himself and the world in which he lives.
After picking out books for summer reading, don’t forget math and science. Since the kids will be on their devices anyway, encourage them to find math and science based apps and. This way they can be learning while playing games, which is how most kids learn.
Family vacations don’t mean the education needs to stop. If your trips include Walt Disney World for instance, be sure to sneak in some history with The Hall of Presidents at The Magic Kingdom and world cultures at EPCOT. If local staycations are more your style, look into local history at parks, libraries and museums in your hometown. Chances are, not matter where you live, there is something to learn and explore.
Just because you and the kids are having fun this summer, you can all still continue your education and have a blast doing it.