Summer School: Fun Ways to Introduce Kids to the World of Words
Alexandria educators share creative ways to keep your child's reading skills shiny and bright this summer.
"During the summer, I like to let my kids be kids," says Kipsy Gould, a parent of two Lane Elementary students.
Gould is like many parents who want their kids to enjoy a well-deserved brain break.
But local educators say there are fun ways to keep your future lawyer or doctor mentally active without forcing them to feel like they're still in the classroom.
So, Mom and Dad ,put your critical thinking cap on because it's time to head to summer school, so to speak.
Start with asking your kids to help plan a trip to the water or amusement park.
"Look at the Kings Dominion website and navigate through it," says Jay Nocco the principal of Lane Elementary in Alexandria.
But don't stop there. When you are ready to hit the road, Nocco suggests printing out the directions and have your little co-pilot navigate.
“Reading billboards and playing alphabet games are a fun way to incorporate reading into your trip," recommends Patti Exstein, a mother of two and Reading Specialist at Lane Elementary.
After you have applied the sunscreen and given them the important do's and don'ts of the park, tell them to pick up a park map and have them read it. Once again, they're navigating.
There are even opportunities for children to soak up some reading time while at the pool.
"When they call a fifteen minute break, one of those breaks should be a reading break," says Exstein.
This advice got the attention of Gould. “That’s a great idea. That's perfect and then there's no fighting at the end of the day because they’re too tired to read," says Gould.
And what about the one activity it seems kids can't live without, and parents struggle to limit: video games.
Exstein says she would have her kids “read what was on the screen and when it came to difficulty of the game, they would read the instructional booklet." She says this tackles reading and problem solving.
Kristen Koelsch, a Math Specialist at Lane Elementary, sees how video games travel to school with your child. "Often students write about the characters, so parents could have them write about the games. But it's good to limit the time. They need time to go outside and play with others.”
These educators agree a lot of children have a hard time staying on one task for a long period of time. Nocco's advice: invest in puzzles, have your child write letters or keep a summer journal. "This will help build stamina that will help on standardized test," adds Nocco.
"Parents working with their kids is key, instead of forcing them to read or do math. Kids don't want to sit in isolation. Every child just wants to spend time with mom and dad," says Nocco.
Now you have the sunscreen, those new beach towels, swimming goggles, and now advice that could make a big splash with your child this summer and well into next school year.