Thoughtful Parenting: Avoiding the “summer slide” |

Thoughtful Parenting: Avoiding the “summer slide”

Kim Shulz/For Steamboat Today

Summer is well underway, and there has been a lot of time for summer fun. Has it been difficult to incorporate reading, writing and math practice in the daily routine? Many parents have great intentions to engage their children in activities to practice these skills throughout the summer, but somehow, the days slip away with other activities.

The importance of keeping children engaged throughout the summer is cited in numerous research studies. The fact is, if students don't practice the skills they have gained throughout the school year, they lose them. This is commonly known as the "summer slide." Help your child maintain these skills while engaging in fun activities.

Here are some suggestions to help your children fit "the 3 Rs" into summer life. The key to making these activities a part of the daily routine is to find ways to integrate them into the activities you already do. Different activities are appropriate for different ages and skill levels. Find some that are engaging for your child and fit with your family's routines.

Reading doesn't just happen when reading a book

• Read the comics, the menu when out to eat, cereal boxes while eating breakfast and recipes while cooking together, or let older children plan a meal by searching for recipes.

• Many games, including board games and computer games, involve reading. Encourage your child to read the parts appropriate for his or her reading level.

Recommended Stories For You

• Write notes for your child and place them in unexpected places. Encourage your child to write a note back to you.

• Read to your child before bed for a calming way to reconnect at the end of a busy day.

Writing can be included in everyday activities

• Write a packing list for a trip, the grocery list, notes on recipes to remember any changes for the future or an email to a distant family member or friend.

Writing thank you notes is a great way to practice writing skills and neat handwriting, while also expressing gratitude.

• A journal of a trip can be a reminder of special times together, especially the day-to-day adventures that might otherwise be forgotten.

Math is a part of our daily life

• Cooking is a great way to incorporate measuring skills. Older children can also help figure out the changes in measurements when making a recipe larger or smaller.

• Play games that involve dice or cards with counting.

• Practice math facts in the car. Make it a game.

• Have your child help you figure out the cost of something when purchasing in a store or online.

• Give your child a budget to spend when traveling.

Engage children in educational games online or with apps.

• There are numerous free apps that are designed to help children practice reading, writing and math skills. Download some to pass the time while waiting in line, traveling or to play together. Also, the local schools' websites offer the same online activities that are used throughout the school year.

Finding ways to integrate practice of skills during the summer makes an enormous impact on your child's overall academic development, as well as boosting his or her confidence when returning to school in just a few weeks. Make learning fun.

Kim Schulz is the founder of Key to Learning, a tutoring service helping students in kindergarten through eighth grade reach their greatest potential. She is a member of Routt County Youth Services Coalition and First Impressions. Check out her website at or connect on Facebook at