5 Learning Tips to Keep Your Child’s Math and Reading on Track This Summer

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When approaching academics over the summer, it is important to consider our students as individuals and how their unique perspectives can help shape our course of action. Overall attitudes towards school, excitement or lack thereof for the upcoming school year, and preferred activities can all give us pertinent information on ways to frame and design learning opportunities into enjoying summer break. It should also be considered what concepts within the Math and Reading subjects you would like to reinforce during this time. Depending on these factors, and if your child prefers exploring the outdoors or embracing the air conditioning inside, these tips can help guide you in designing enjoyable summer activities that help your child maintain progress from the previous school year. Here are a few tips that we’ve learned over the years working with children at Da Vinci Collaborative.

1. Determine what motivates your child

Every person has preferences and things that motivate them more than others, especially our young learners. Does your child have a YouTube creator they prefer or a video that they play on repeat? Or perhaps a preferred toy, person, or activity that they look forward to? If not, this is a great time to do an informal preference assessment. Give your child choices, preferably with visual cues, and see which options are being chosen first as well as most often. These choices are a great place to start! Once you have a list of a few preferences your child has, use them to design activities involving Math and Reading concepts. Examples of this could be turning on captions and reading along with a preferred video, maybe even seeing if you can find any silly errors in transcription. If your student prefers jumping on the trampoline, you could count jumps as well as practice addition and subtraction by bouncing balls on and off of the trampoline. You will be surprised how much learning can be incorporated into preferred activities! 

2.  Look for learning opportunities in everyday activities

While in most of our minds, summer is synonymous with pool parties, ice cream, and relaxation, it can also mean including your child or children in everyday activities that they may not encounter during the school year. These activities can include grocery shopping and other required outings, or even chores such as folding laundry and yard work. Giving your child a job during these activities can give them a vested interest in participating and make the experience feel novel as opposed to mundane. To create a job to reinforce math concepts, think about what parts of the task are quantifiable. Similarly, to create a job to reinforce reading concepts, determine which parts of the task require gaining information from a printed source. Some great examples of these jobs are having your child read the grocery store circular and figure how much the items on your shopping list would cost or, for gardening, having your child reading seed packets for care instructions and determining the area needed for that specific plant.

3.  Utilize gamified learning platforms

If your child’s preferred activities include video games or playing on a personal device such as an iPad, using a gamified environment to reinforce summer learning is a great strategy. This can either be done explicitly through the use of educational applications or websites such as Khan Academy Kids, Prodigy Math, Starfall, or implicitly through a game they already enjoy playing. It is recommended that you determine which resources your child already has access to through school in terms of educational gamified environments and see if these can be accessed at home over the summer. If your child responds better to playing a game they are used to, reading character dialogue and determining how many total blocks are needed to build a structure in Minecraft are also opportunities to practice their skills.

4.  Make it a family affair

Especially in the case of reading, it is often beneficial for children to do this collaboratively with parents and/or siblings. One way to incorporate the whole family in the reading process is to make a family book club. Have your children take turns choosing a book and read it together if your child needs additional support. Then, set aside a special night of themed snacks and activities to celebrate and discuss the book. A similar strategy for math is to include games involving math in a family game night or set up a weekly challenge to estimate the number of toys or candies in a jar, for example. Then skip count the items together and, the child whose estimate is closest to the actual number be given the option to choose dinner one night the following week. Feel free to use these examples or come up with your own activities based on your family dynamic.

5.  Ensure that it doesn’t feel like homework

For a majority of students, they are often avoidant to summer learning activities because it feels like they are already back in school. Obviously, if your learning prefers more formal practice that resembles school work, follow your student’s lead! If not, it is beneficial to try different methods of practice, especially once involving multiple senses. If you have an active child, involving a ball, walking, or jumping into an activity can encourage participation. Similarly, if your student loves dessert, involving baking in your learning activities can be a delicious way to keep your child engaged!

Da Vinci’s Effort to Encourage Creative Learning Opportunities

Through our multisensory approach, Da Vinci Collaborative strives to engage each student in the learning process and ensure that they feel confident in their growing abilities. Through our upcoming courses throughout the school year, we welcome the opportunity to extend experiential summer learning into the school year. Programs are designed to keep students interested in the topic being explored, whether it is Reading and Math subjects or outside interests such as 3D Modeling and Printing. We are very excited to offer programs that appeal to a variety of students where collaboration can take place in a healthy and safe environment. 

If you would like to discover how our programs can benefit your child, please visit our website or reach out to us to learn more about our clinic programs and resources. We would love to work together to customize instruction to fit your child’s needs! 

Written by Christina Maragioglio, MS, Director of Technology and Learning

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