Are we there yet? How to bridge the summer learning gap and make it to the other side once school be
Ah, the summer – no school, no structure, fewer rules for children. Following a particularly difficult, challenging year for both students and educators in adjusting to a pandemic learning environment that was ever-changing, it cannot arrive quickly enough.
However, lack of structure does not, and should not, lead to a complete lack of learning. If it does, children will return to school (in many cases, fully in-person) with a hole in their retention. All the skills that were learned in the previous year could fade or disappear completely without reinforcement over the next three months of summer.
Since reinforcement is essential to bridging the learning gap, we present to you free resources to ensure academic reinforcement and retention across multiple subjects. There is a focus on math listed in these resources as consistency in practicing math is perhaps the most essential. Please note some of these resources might be a few years old, but remember: math is timeless!
Illuminations from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
This math-focused site provides activities for grades K-12. Parents can choose from activities that meet the standards of NCTM or activities which meet Common Core standards. Listed activities are either computer-based direct from the site or consist of instructions for non-computer-based exercises. Visit https://www.nctm.org/Classroom-Resources/Illuminations.
Simple Tips for Summer Math Learning from PBS Kids
Reliably, PBS shares tips for parents, describing how to incorporate math into a daily routine; for example: “use everyday errands as learning opportunities” and “turn children’s collections into math lessons.” In other words, take advantage of the fact that math is everywhere and utilize that advantage in daily life. Visit https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/simple-tips-for-summer-math-learning.
Exactly as advertised, CoolMath.com showcases a plethora of math problems in several different formats, and almost the entirety of the site is an homage to the ‘80s and ‘90s (hence the “cool” portion). It includes lesson breakdowns, computer-based games, and an entire section simply titled “tools and reference.” Visit https://www.coolmath.com/.
Looking for a “one-stop-shop” for reading, writing, and math? Education.com’s Summer Fun Learning Library of printable worksheets is your site. It provides worksheets for preschool through seventh grade, and in addition to reading and writing, offers free sheets in science, social studies, and even a bonus “social emotional” worksheet about the importance of teamwork. Visit https://www.education.com/worksheets/summer-fun/.
Scholastic Summer Reading Tips
While schools often assign required summer reading to students depending on grade level, there is nothing wrong with an additional supplement to that required summer reading. “Help by any means necessary” is an understandable philosophy when it comes to motivating children to complete their summer reading assignments. Scholastic provides lists of books, including activity books, for every age, and instructions for how to join a Scholastic book club. Visit https://www.scholastic.com/parents/home.html.
The Old-fashioned Visit
While the internet is a holy grail of resources in vast varieties, sometimes an in-person, free experience cannot be contested. Be sure to check vaccination requirements for older children and parents – but with COVID numbers decreasing, in-person experiences are once again available. Visit the library and encourage children to pick books of their choice (free read away from the dreaded summer reading list!). Take a trip to a free museum. Visit a historical site and take a guided tour. Even head to the movies if a historically or globally relevant flick is playing. Educational experiences are truly everywhere.
With an arsenal of resources at your disposal, it’s time to conquer the summer learning gap and build a bridge to a well-prepared school year for your children!