Help Your Child Get Ahead This Summer

By Windy Lopez-Aflitto

Summer break doesn’t need to mean a break from learning. On the contrary, it’s the perfect time to make learning come alive. As parents, we can flip the script on the ‘summer slide’ and help our children stride ahead this summer.

Learning Heroes national research shows 90% of parents believe their child is at or above grade level despite only 39% of teachers saying students start the school year prepared for grade level work, as revealed in Scholastic’s Teacher and Principal School Report.

These numbers highlight summer as an opportunity—the game changer for success in the following grade. This is why Learning Heroes has partnered with National PTA and National Summer Learning Association to create Summer Stride—a new resource that helps parents flip the summer slide with a simple plan.

How can you support summer learning?  

As parents, we know our children best and can turn their interests and hobbies into powerful learning moments. But we know it isn’t always easy to keep kids engaged during the break, especially for busy working parents. Here’s a plan to help your child this summer (and have fun)!

  • Know before you go! Before school lets out, ask the teacher where your child is doing well, where they might need more support, and what you can do over the summer to set them up for success in the next grade.

    You can also ask them about summer program scholarships, resources and other informal enrichment opportunities that might be a good fit for your child based on their interests.
  • Get a gut check. After you talk to the teacher, it’s time to get a baseline of your child’s learning level. Take a few minutes to do the Readiness Check and get free videos, games and more to support math and reading over the summer.

    This interactive tool shows how well your child has learned foundational skills needed for the next grade—and the best part is, you can use it on your phone or computer, whether you’re on the go or at home.
  • Let them show what they know! Make learning come alive by exploring your child’s interests. For example, if your child loves soccer, have fun figuring out the percentage of goals blocked or passes completed (there’s a lot of math in every sport)!

    If your child has a special collection of something they’re interested in (whether it’s rocks or stickers), ask them to compare the differences and similarities of each item. Also, as they read and play, ask them to teach you what they’re learning. This helps them review important skills and build confidence.
  • Discover the fun (and free) in your community. There are places and spaces to learn all around you! Check out library programs, zoos, parks or museums to explore new interests.

    Talk about what you want to learn before you go and then discuss what you enjoyed about the trip after your visit. Don’t underestimate these trips—learning together is a powerful way to bond as a family!

Through actions like these, parents and children can make big strides during summer break and enter the new school year ready to succeed.

For more information on summer learning and resources for parents, visit BeALearningHero.org and read the newly released Smarter Summers, Brighter Futures, a Summer Playbook designed specifically for PTA Leaders!

Join the celebrations and get new ideas for summer fun during National Summer Learning Week, July 8-13, by posting and following #SummerLearningWeek on social media.

Windy Lopez-Aflitto is the vice president of content and partnerships for Learning Heroes.

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