It’s tempting to try to keep up learning during the summer holidays, but a rest is the main reason for the break. Alternative ways to learn do both – maintain momentum whilst being fun. Here are some ideas from The Conversation.
The end of the school year often signals long weeks of unstructured time and a complete break from academic learning. It’s time for fun — but unfortunately ‘the summer slide’ isn’t just something at the playground. It’s also what educational researchers call the setback especially visible in children’s reading abilities after the summer. Teachers know that due to this slide, students often require weeks of review upon their return.
Children of low socio-economic status who may already be struggling with skills are especially at risk of falling even farther behind.
Some reading scholars emphasize the importance of reading-related activities to avoid the summer slide. Yet counter-intuitively, emphasizing children’s ABCs may be precisely the wrong thing to be doing with those lazy, hazy days of summer treasured by kids. Especially the youngest learners need a break.
For children aged five to seven, who are in the early stages of learning to read, it may be that an over-emphasis on alphabet and word recognition — what education scholars call “decoding skills” could frustrate children or do more harm than good.
Decoding, or the process of mapping sounds to symbols (also known as phonics) is highly complex and only part of the reading puzzle. Most reading theorists suggest teaching children to read involves both word recognition as well as comprehension knowledge, skills and strategies.
So let’s consider the value of lots of play-based experiences that can promote producing the internal mental representations of the external world and its shape, sizes and sequences. Such experiences are critical to laying the foundation for both literacy and numeracy.