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What, if anything, do you do to promote summer learning?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

DS only has 12 days of school left, including today, and I'm trying to work out what I want him to do over the summer. He's made an amazing amount of progress in second grade, and I don't want him to lose any of that. Here's what will be happening for sure:


1) He'll continue working with an Orton Gillingham tutor three times a week for four hours total: three hours of reading and one hour of math.


2) He'll participate in the library's summer reading program, with the difference this year that I'll require all of the reading time he accrues to be his own reading. In previous summers the large majority of his summer reading was actually summer listening. I want to especially encourage him to move up to chapter books. There are several series of books that he enjoys and that are within his reading level, but he's reluctant to read them on his own. I'm hoping this is mainly because he gets burnt out with seven hours of school a day and three hours of tutoring a week and the freedom of the summer will encourage him to read more.


He went from not being able to count to 20 at the end of first grade to doing basic multiplication at the end of second grade. Math is now his favorite subject. He'll have the one hour of tutoring a week, but I'd like to encourage him to do more. I'm trying to figure out how to go about doing this. I'm sure some kids would do fine with one of those "summer bridge" workbooks, but DS expresses frequent disdain for all the worksheets he does at school, so I don't want to force him to do worksheets over the summer. Any ideas?


Do you have your kids do any assigned work over the summer? Do you just encourage them to read? Do you not do anything and just hope their skills don't go downhill?

post #2 of 10

I am also interested in summer ideas.  My son is finishing 1st grade and also loves math but struggles with reading.

post #3 of 10

Wow, kentuckymom, I remember some of your previous posts and WOW!!!  What progress!!!  Your son should be congratulated for working hard and achieving.  You should recognize that your role as persistent parent asking questions in helping him get what he needs.  Your update makes me so happy.


Summer learning:


I would add:

*Listen to books on tape.  Good stuff, not just the run-of-the-mill kids stuff that's so easy to find.  Aim to make listening to books on tape/CD be something that you do several hours a week.  Bonus is that it can be done in the car, while crafting, or while doing something else.  This helps continue to grow the vocabulary, give a broader sense of story, and they're interesting.  Our library has hundreds of kids books on CD. 

*Play word games - Apples to Apples, Scattergories, and similar (we almost always adapt these games to our purposes, including eliminating the time component or the competition.  Often these become an "all one team" game)

*Learn & play games like Sorry, Parchesi, checkers, chess (No Stress Chess is cheap and it really does teach it), Set, Monopoly, Forbidden Island, Ticket to Ride, Tsuro, and other math-in-disguise games.  It won't look like math, but it helps develop mathematical thinking.

*Cook/bake together.  "Whoopsie, we only have 1 egg and it calls for 2, let's just halve this recipe."  "Wow, we really love this, let's double it.  Help me work out how much for each thing." 

*Plant a garden.  Work out plant spacing, figure out how many plants you'll need, watch the plants grow.

*Aim to get out and about -- do nature hikes at Metro parks and attend their outreach programs, go to museums, and help him find his passion.


Note there are no worksheets there.  ;)  The only thing my kids do in the summer worksheety is math fluency drills in the month before school goes back.  We work on a "how many can you do in 5 minutes" manner, with the goal of increasing over how they performed over last week's average (not yesterday as there are spikes and valleys from day to day). 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the encouragement and ideas, Geofizz! DH loves math and strategy games, so I'll encourage him especially to get DS playing more with him over the summer. Yeah, I never would have guessed a year ago or even in the fall that DS's second grade year would be ending so well. It was such a refreshing experience to go into the spring conference and hear from the teach how excited she is that DS is now testing at grade level. Our two other spring conferences were quite discouraging.

post #5 of 10

Oh, and we've gotten so far with the "hink pink" word game.




We've taken to doing these when waiting for our meals when we go out.  My kids have dyslexic-like quirks, and they've both gotten so much better at hearing syllables and rhyming. 

post #6 of 10

Interesting thread. DS just finished K and it has been a pretty amazing ride. He had a fairly difficult transition from preschool but is doing well academically and socially. He started to read about two months ago and has made extraordinary progress. It has been frankly remarkable to watch. With that in mind, I think we will have a once a week reading tutor over the summer. He loves loves loves reading and I want him to continue to make progress over the summer. Without prompting, he frequently writes and illustrates stories. He actually did that before he could read with an adult patiently spelling out the words. The library reading program is a great idea. I am not used to having a reader!

Math and science interest him a lot too but he wasn’t interested in a related camp. I know next year is far more math-focused and I suppose we could work on those things but I don’t think we will. The charter school we go to does a big push for reading in K with reading groups grouped across two grades. He choose instead to go back to his preschool for a few weeks, which is a lovely, progressive play-based place. So it will be grinding-leaves for paint pigments and the like. And he has a week of art camp at the local museum. Maybe swim or dance lessons once a week.

He needs a lot of down time and I want summer to be free.

post #7 of 10
I try to have my boys read for an hour a day, but sometimes I forget. Each week we give them a writing prompt and they have to write a page long report on the topic after they research it. The prompts are given on Mon. and the papers due on Sat. This was the first week and ds1 was "how did baseball start" and ds2 was "the most interesting things about honey bees". Ds1 is our sports guy and ds2 is our brainiac, so the topics suit their personality.

I am teaching ds2 multiplication, we are up to the 4s so far and I randomly quiz him, in the car, waiting for ds1's baseball practice to be over, when I'm making dinner, etc. I also have ds1 help him by being the teacher. A great way to reinforce ds1's skills wink1.gif

Ds1 just finished 4th grade and ds2 just finished 2nd grade.

Have you tried math apps? Kids love those and they keep their attention longer than worksheets. One my kids love is Math Bingo.
post #8 of 10

My rising 6th grader is a struggling reader but is now at grade level. One of our goals will be to see her a 6+ something at the start of the school year. We did a lot of work two summers ago and managed to improve her reading levels so that will be a goal this summer. The main thing at this grade level for my DC will be finding her another series that she can really sink into. 


We will also work on writing, which she is behind on. I haven't decided how to do that. I am considering a large-scale, long-term writing and editing project but am not sure. Feeling a bit out of my depth for the spelling, writing education. Way more so than with reading. 


Other than that DC is doing fine and we will focus on hanging out and having a good time. 

post #9 of 10

There's not a lot we need to do to promote summer learning. The kids natural interests lead them to some intellectual pursuits through summer programs they choose. DS 12 is taking a Robotics course this summer and super excited about it. My eldest is taking a summer art history at the college for fun. Then they have their other activities like theatre and music which is valuable to us too.


However, my youngest has some pretty serious penmanship issues and always has. Taking 13 weeks off from the physical act of writing is just not a good idea for him. We have always required he do a little writing every week whether it was a cursive program through Handwriting Without Tears or just a few paragraphs on a movie he liked. It helps him maintain and not drop down to totally illegible in the fall.

post #10 of 10

We don't do anything for summer learning. We go to the library every couple of weeks or so and the kids can pick any books they want. Ds is an avid reader, he usually finishes his books the day he brings them home.

Other than that, we do some crafts on rainy days, or go to museums.

Ds goes to a couple of day camps, but they are sport-related, and one is a farm day camp.


I think he needs this time to be away from school work.

Edited to add that ds just decided to create his own website. So I opened an account for him and let him play with it a bit during dd's nap. He learned how to edit, change font, colour and size of letters. He uploaded a couple of pictures and said he wanted to take some more pictures of science experiments. We'll see where this will lead, for now he's having fun :) Don't know if I should include this in "summer learning" or not.

Edited by Nightwish - 7/1/13 at 1:39pm
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