While summer learning is important for children of all ages, it’s imperative for incoming first through fourth graders. Any loss during this time will be compounded once the school year starts, and it will have long-term effects. Preparing for first through fourth grade by practicing math and reading skills over the summer will ensure that your child is prepared for new learning challenges!
First, the bad news. The NWEA predicts that next year students will experience greater losses in their math abilities compared to their skills in other subjects, with third and fourth graders experiencing the biggest deficits. This isn’t too surprising: because younger students make larger knowledge gains during the school year than older students do, the effect of a sudden stop in formal schooling will also have a more significant impact on them.
The good news: learning and practicing math consistently now and through the summer will not only help students avoid summer learning loss, but also will enable them to get ahead. The best way to help your child is to get a sense of their current strengths and weaknesses and then build on those skills. If you’re not a teacher, that’s easier said than done, we know. If your child’s teacher isn’t able to provide some guidance, we’d be happy to give you a free diagnostic assessment and recommendations (and, of course, we’d love to find the perfect tutor for you!).
Regular math practice doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Spending ten to fifteen minutes on a skill every day will give your child a boost without wearing them out. Don’t forget that math can be fun! Games and websites like Dreambox make math practice engaging, and may even make it something your child will look forward to rather than dread.
While math needs to be the primary focus, reading cannot be neglected. The American Library Association found that fourth graders who read for fun every day scored higher on standardized tests than their classmates who didn’t. Just like math, reading doesn’t have to be a chore! Spending twenty or thirty minutes with text every day will do the trick.
The easiest way to get your child to read is to make sure they have access to materials that appeal to them. The New York Times has some great suggestions for early readers, those discovering chapter books, and middle grade students. Making reading an enjoyable part of the day is also key. Maybe your child can read outside on nice days, or while having an afternoon snack. We know some kids who love reading in their DIY forts, and some pets who love being read to!
Talking about reading will help develop comprehension and critical thinking skills. Even just asking basic questions about what your child is reading, like who their favorite character is and why, will have an impact.
The sudden school stop has been overwhelming, but remember that this is a brand new situation for everyone. It’s okay to feel unsure and frustrated. It’s also okay to ask for help, whether it’s from family members, teachers, or tutors.
The amount of growth kids make with 1:1 tutoring sessions during the summer is impressive. Our tutors keep it fun and flexible while working towards goals. Contact us if you need help figuring out what’s best for your child over the next few months!