As summer approaches each year and children begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, parents are notorious for asking us teachers the question, “What can my kid do to keep their brain active during summer?” As an elementary school teacher I answer with the first and most important part of that question: read, read, READ-no matter the age!
In fact, parent involvement in the reading process on a regular basis is highly encouraged – even reading aloud to your child while she listens promotes early literacy comprehension. You can find reading resources, book suggestions, and fun summertime programs that encouraging reading and help beat summer brain drain at your local library.
For some children, reading will be “enough” to keep the brain active. For others, who need help with remedial skills, on-target practice, or enrichment opportunities to challenge a child, there are endless resources accessible for summer time brush-up.
Summer Brain Drain: Online Resources
Online websites are abundant in today’s world of technology. Many websites offer free printables to many grade levels in a variety of subjects. Other resources create fun ways to practice skills through games, or extend directions and teaching for students or parents who need to review the steps to solving a problem, particularly in math.
Below is a list of online resources for student learning to get you started:
- TLS Books offers preschool-6th-grade printables on a wide variety of subjects with easy to follow directions and a website simple to navigate.
- K-5 Learning focuses on reading and math content with grade-level specific strands. Their purpose is to work with students on practice specifically during summer and for after school enrichment. (This site offers a free 14-day subscription followed by an annual fee of $199 or monthly fee of $25 with a discount for additional children.)
- Education.com offers practice for preschool-high school in multiple content areas.
- Super Teacher Worksheets allows users to access some free content while extending many more opportunities for those who are interested in paying the yearly fee ($19.95). Content includes all subjects broken down into more specific categories that are grade level appropriate.
- IXL is a website used in numerous school districts to allow students grade-level math practice from home or school with a fun feel, offering rewards for completing a set number of problems. If your school does not have a subscription, students can access it free of charge for a short amount of time before being prompted to log-in. Be sure to ask your school if this program, or others like it, is available as they are purchased for year-round use and can be accessed during summer months.
- Cool Math is a popular choice for kids as a fun website to play games aimed at practicing math skills. This site is completely free and requires no planning on your part for printing worksheets.
- Donna Young Org offers printables for practicing math facts in a fun way using a triangle method.
- Khan Academy is popular among teachers, parents, and students as a resource for watching videos that teach specific strategies. In my opinion, many have found this website helpful to review a particular lesson in math with their child, or when looking to help their child solve problems when parents themselves are stumped!
This very short list is far from a complete accounting of all the online resources available. Just type in your search engine something like, “free pintables for 4th grade,” and the list goes on and on. Other options for practice include Summer Bridge Books that contain practice for students moving into the next grade. These can be purchased at any learning resources store, Costco, grocery stores, or online at websites like Amazon. Another popular choice for parents is summertime tutoring through local tutoring facilities like Sylvan Learning, Kumon, Huntington Learning Center, etc. Many teachers also work as summer time tutors and often have more flexible schedules and affordable rates. Ask your local school if they can recommend someone on staff.
Summer Brain Drain: Schedule Time to Learn
Whatever you choose, if anything, I highly encourage you to read with your children to keep them involved in something more than video games and cell phones. Have a routine for practice – this will get your child in the habit of separating “work” time with “play” time, similar to the school year. Your child will enter the new school year feeling knowledgeable of the content and confident in her ability to continue growing.
How are you working to prevent summer brain drain in your home