Since its inception in 2010, The New Century School has annually offered resources to families to help prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon that can happen to kids over summer break when they might be less academically engaged than during the school year and lose scholastic ground as a consequence. Although this problem disproportionately affects underserved communities, it is nevertheless felt to a certain degree across the board, as teachers find themselves re-teaching concepts that were learned the previous year and then forgotten. Some research has shown that students can lose as much as 3 months of reading and math achievement over the course of just one summer. (See Making Summer Count for more details on relevant studies.)
The best way to slow the summer slide, according to the research, is to provide students with resources and educational activities. For summer 2016, TNCS’s elementary teachers compiled their own special set, curated especially for TNCS students. They also remind parents that summer is the ideal time to take trips to museums and libraries, get involved in organized activities, and making sure kids have access to books. In fact, Enoch Pratt library offers a wonderful summer reading program to incentivize kids to read, read, and read some more during summer. See Summer Reading Program for more information.
After TNCS students have worked very hard on their reading and comprehension all year long, to keep these skills sharp, try to read with your child each day and ask questions or talk about what you have read together. Here are suggested lists of unforgettable books, differentiated by grades*:
*The TNCS elementary team says: “Please remember, each child’s reading level develops at different rates. Some of these titles or authors may seem too easy or too difficult for your child. If your child picks a book you think may be too hard, have him/her read a full page aloud to you. If there are five or more mistakes while reading, the book is probably too difficult. If there are fewer than five errors, the book seems to be a good fit!”
(If your child is having more than a little difficulty with reading, Teresa Jacoby recommends Loyola University of Maryland Clinical Center’s summer reading programs, which can be accessed here.)
Another list comes from 4th- and 5th-grade TED-Ed Club Members, who shared the books that they’ve recently read and want to recommend to other kids their age: “TED-Ed’s Summer Reading List: 31 great books for students, chosen by students.”
TNCS students have also been introduced to multiple easy-to-access language arts websites. The students will be familiar with their log-in information, having spent time on them throughout the prior school year. These include:
- https://www.raz-kids.com (interactive e-books).
- http://www.abcya.com (educational online games)
- http://www.ixl.com (math and language arts “practice that feels like play”)
- http://www.clpgh.org/kids/storymaker (my StoryMaker®)
For Raz-kids in Spanish, the students will log in to their accounts, click on the book room icon, and then select the Spanish level reader tab.
- https://www.raz-kids.com (interactive e-books)
To keep current on Mandarin Chinese skills, your kids can visit the following websites (they will already know their log-in information for some of these):
- http://www.fluentu.com/ (language learning with videos)
- https://quizlet.com/ (flashcards, etc. on just about any subject)
- http://www.mdbg.net/ (English to Chinese dictionary)
- http://learning.chinese.cn/ (Confucius Institute online)
Math skills can also be lost without regular practice. Here are websites that TNCS students can use during the summer months:
- www.khanacademy.org (free; #youcanlearnanything)
- https://www.tenmarks.com (free summer math program)
- www.gregtangmath.com (great computational strategies and a summer math challenge)
- www.abcya.com (engaging games that the kids love to play)
- www.multiplication.com (enhances multiplication fluency)
The TNCS elementary team looks forward to seeing their students back for the 2016–2017 school year, refreshed and ready to hit the ground learning!