Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tips to Keep Your Kid's Brain In Top Shape During The Summer

School has been out for a few weeks (or even a month) now and kids have slipped into their new summer routine - sleeping in, playing outside, staying up late and just relaxing. School is a past memory they would rather not think about but how do you as a parent keep them from becoming victim to the SUMMER SLIDE?

What is the summer slide you ask? It is the loss of learning/remembering what they had learned during their previous year of school. For example, let's say your 3rd grader worked super hard all school year memorizing their multiplication facts and by the last day of school was able to rattle them off without any prompting or help from you or their teacher. Fast forward 6 to 8 weeks into the summer and you happen to ask little Sally what 4 x 6 is and all you get in return is a blank stare - that is the summer slide.

So how do you keep your kid's mind just as active during the summer break as their little bodies seem to be? Reading! Reading and more Reading. Exercising those brain cells all year round is so important to their continued educational development. Like a muscle that has atrophied due to lack of use their little brains need the year round stimulation to keep it strong and sharp.

But how do you keep them interested or motivated to read during the summer? Most kids love a challenge so how about joining a summer reading book club! A lot of summer book clubs encourage kids to track their reading each day and if they attain the set goal the child gets a prize or an award. Kids love this kind of motivation!

This summer my kids are participating in 4 separate reading club challenges. Even my 4 year old is able to participate! During the summer I allow them to choose their own books rather than follow the school year curriculum book choices. They love to explore new genres - some of which they find they like and others they find aren't their "thing".

So where do you look to find these summer reading club challenges you ask? The first place we go is to our local library. Most libraries host a summer reading challenge for kids and some even have a fun kick-off event like a carnival or craft to get the summer reading program started.

Local book stores or even the big box bookstores host summer reading programs. The most challenging summer reading club my kids are participating in this summer is with a local bookstore that challenges kids to read a certain number of hours in order to earn their reward. The top reward after a child reads 150 hours during the summer is a $40 gift card to use in the bookstore. It is a tiered challenge so if you reach the minimum 20 hours of reading the child still gets a $5 gift card.

Barnes & Noble offers a summer reading program encouraging kids to read this summer too! The reward is a choice of books to choose from (by age/grade) when they complete the challenge.

Our last book club is through our local homeschool building bookstore. Kids can earn a $5 gift card to spend in the bookstore and PARENTS get a 5% discount card to use too.

Now you might be asking about those lost math facts and how does reading help your child retain those memorized facts. Reading will help your child keep their brain in tip top shape making it easier for them to remember their math facts or reduce the time they need for a refresher at the beginning of the new school year.

Can't find a reading club challenge for your child in your area? Don't worry! How about creating your own family reading club summer challenge. Here is a bunch of ideas (and links) you can use to help keep your kids reading this summer

#1 - Summer Reading Challenge Bookmarks
via: thirty handmade days

#2 - Color Your Own Reading Logs

via: 123 Homeschool 4 me
#3 - Reading & Reward Chart
via: pretty providence

#4 Summer Reading Chart Bingo Game

via: simply kierste

#5 - Summer Reading Challenge Chart

via: a teachable teacher

Looking for a great list of age appropriate books for your child to read? Check out my post -   Top Ten Books for Children Ages 8 - 13

Here are some other great summer reads for your kids:



Just remember - make it FUN for your children to read this summer! Exercise those brain cells and enjoy a good book. 

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