Contributed by the City of Tempe Librarians

Every year many students suffer from what’s known as the “summer slide,” which is varying levels of learning loss that occurs once the school year ends. This makes going back to school even more of a challenge since those struggling students will spend even more time relearning what was forgotten.

There are plenty of ways to help your kids avoid the summer slide and to keep their minds fresh and sharp all summer long. Here are a few tips and recommendations from the City of Tempe Librarians for reading and math.

Read every day for at least 20 minutes.

This may seem like a tall task but it’s probably the most important. In whatever form you choose, make sure your kids read for at least 20 minutes every day.

Find the right book (or non-book) to read.

Be flexible with your child’s reading choices. Let him or her play an active role in choosing what books to read. There’s plenty of mandatory reading in school. Reading at home is a great opportunity to give your child some freedom to choose.

Have a child who throws a gallant fight at reading time? Comics, age-appropriate graphic novels and children’s magazines are all good alternatives. In fact, studies show that comics are very effective for reinforcing visual and verbal literacy and for helping to slow down the pace of a reader. The images can also help struggling students make connections to words. Bottom line – all reading is good reading.

Use games and other fun stuff on the go.

Battling traffic during the morning commute? Start a game of I-Spy. Look for words that start with a particular letter or that rhyme with a word that you choose.

Grocery stores are also a great place to encourage reading. Have the kids hunt down the right aisles by reading the signs. Make them read the sale displays to find the best deal (this is also great for keeping those math skills sharp).

Keep the older kids engaged.

Need an activity for older kids? Ask them about what they are reading and why they are reading it. Those conversations will help with their comprehension and make stronger connections to the texts they are reading.

Teach the kids math through cooking.

Bake or cook with your child. While creating a delicious meal or treat, your kids can practice math skills like measuring, counting, and number recognition. They can also practice their reading skills and brush up on how to follow step-by-step directions.

Make math fun with cards and games.

There are dozens of card games that can be a blast while also strengthening those math skills. A quick internet search will turn up plenty of ideas for the family. Board games are another great idea. Most require number recognition, counting and keeping score – all great practices for keeping math skills sharp.

Use your travel time for the greater math good.

Traveling this summer? Have your kids help you plan the trip. They can calculate the distance you will travel and how long it will take to get there. They can also help create a trip budget, and make sure you stick to it while you travel.

Make art and math collide.

Create an art masterpiece. Have your child draw, paste or tape a picture using shapes. While creating the picture, discuss the properties of shapes. For example, a square has four equal sides and a parallelogram has two sets of parallel sides.

Find activities at your local library.

Check in at the library near your house this summer – you may be surprised by the variety of free classes and activities that are offered.

Libraries across the Valley offer summer reading programs full of activities and entertainment that’s designed specifically to help avoid the summer slide. Summer reading programs are a great way to get the kids engaged because most come with prize incentives.

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