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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Fun and Free Summer Learning Resources

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Two parents and three children are playing outside on the sidewalk in front of their house, setting up a lemonade stand.

Summer learning loss is a real problem. Alarmingly, research suggests students may lose more than one month of reading knowledge during the summer, and the losses in math may be even greater.

Here, we’ve compiled a few resources to keep students learning through the dog days of summer, with a particular focus on math and reading. For starters, the Edutopia blog post "Avoiding the Summer Slide in Reading and Writing" from Heather Wolpert-Gawron is chock-full of useful information and strategies for parents and students.

Fun! Fun! Fun! Summer Learning Sites

Quick Links to Open Education Resources

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Angela's picture
Angela
Parent of 3 high-school students in Chicago, Illinois

"lemonade stand" sounds like a great deal :D

Sarah's picture

I just received a grant to develop resources for students and their parents to prevent the summer slide. I am searching for free resources and any ideas.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

Hi Sarah! Is there a Makerspace in your area? They have lots of great (usually free) resources. I know our public library has a whole bunch of interesting things going on this summer too- my own kids are going to a DIY Stomp Rocket thing tomorrow and they're wicked psyched about it.

I saw this piece from the Atlantic today and bookmarked it- it sounds like something you'd like, too. http://m.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-res...

Susan Chen's picture

It's true that summer break could result in learning loss. I have students coming back to school in September perform poorly on the pre-assessment tests for reading and math. These results are in direct contrast to their year-end report card for the previous academic year. This is a welcomed list of ideas for me to give to parents to help their children continue to learn throughout the summer months. I have had only two standard recommendations in the past. I usually tell them to check the local library for activities and to check our local community college for its kids summer program. Now I am able to broaden their choices.

Story Share's picture

Great list, thanks for sharing Matt!

We would love to add Story Share to the list as a free resource available to parents and educators over the summer to support reading engagement.

Story Share is a collaborative digital literacy hub devoted to providing relevant, engaging, and approachable literature to struggling readers beyond elementary school. We bring together authors, readers, and educators to provide a digital library filled with high interest and age-appropriate stories for students in middle school and beyond. You can browse our new and improved library and filter stories by age, interest and reading level here:

http://www.storyshares.org/books

We also recently wrote about the importance of engagement when it comes to beating the 'summer slide' which you can read more about here:

http://www.storyshares.org/blog/story-share-and-the-summer-slide/

numberock's picture

Kids still gotta have kid time, though. 2 months of learning loss is regrettable, but I wouldn't trade that back if it meant losing summer vacations!

We're just a two-team husband/wife operations here at NUMBEROCK, but we just launched a free library of originally animated music videos that we think are going bring a wave of new enthusiasm into in-class and out-of-class learning to help with summer decline. Parents will probably find them cute, too!

They can be watched here...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWphMREEQDrg-DCBz2dXpLNi4MFXKDNQm
or at www.numberock.com

Cindy in Fourth's picture
Cindy in Fourth
I'm a fourth grade teacher in California

I put your list into my summer gift package for departing students, crediting you and edutopia of course! I invited feedback on the websites, and we will see what happens. Thanks.

Cindy in Fourth's picture
Cindy in Fourth
I'm a fourth grade teacher in California

What an awesome set of songs in so many genres. This will allow teaching even beyond the math in identifying music genres and writing about that! Thanks for making a bundle on TPT. Now to get the download....

Nirah Lee's picture

How to Use Apps for Summer Learning!

School is out and parents are challenged with the task of balancing summer enrichment programs, summer camps, and just having some fun! Often, summer programs are quite pricey and they have to fit around your scheduled vacations and activities.

Many parents are using apps with their mobile devices to continue their children's education throughout the summer. However, finding the right apps can be a challenge. The App Stores are saturated with apps targeted to children, yet many do more entertaining than educating. Then there's the challenge of using the apps in an effective way in order for children to get the most benefit. Here are some tips for using apps to create an effective summer enrichment program at home:

1. Choose the right kind of apps. If it looks like a cartoon, it is a cartoon! Apps that just entertain have their place, but when it's time for learning apps that are more academic in nature work best. Many apps do so much entertaining that the educational aspect is almost secondary. The reality is, children enjoy learning, and with the right apps they can learn without excessive distractions. App developers, such as Mobile Montessori by Rantek, have created entire libraries of apps for math, language, science and geography that are truly academic in design and function. Experience has shown children sitting down and working with these kinds of apps for up to an hour to complete the activities! See the Mobile Montessori library of apps here: http://www.mobilemontessori.org.

2. Organize your child's mobile device. Arrange the app icons on the tablet so that you have a page or two dedicated to summer learning. This will create a separation between play time and learning time. Group the types of apps together: math, geography, etc.

3. Make a schedule for the summer. It's a fact that we all get more accomplished when we make written lists, appointments, etc. Come up with a plan for the summer that works for you. Learning time does not have to be lengthy. Being consistent each day with your schedule will reap the best results. Choose a unique ringtone on your phone to set an alarm as a reminder that it's time for learning.

4. Be observant and take notes. Some apps provide feedback to parents, such as how long it took to complete a task, or even a final score. By observing your child's interaction with an app, you can learn a lot about their needs and see where to adjust the assignments for the next day. All of this contributes to progressive learning for your child.

5. Rewards come at the end. Just like recess time at school, schedule fun outdoor activities right after learning time with apps. Research has shown that children need a brain-break after they engage in learning activities and those who get it tend to retain what they've learned.

With a little planning summer enrichment can be a manageable task and prove to be extremely effective in helping your child to be a progressive learner. Each new school year teachers struggle to help children "make-up" for what they forgot over the summer months. Now with the proper use of technology and a good schedule your children can keep their skills sharp and will hit the ground running when school starts up in the fall!

MichaelEdits's picture
MichaelEdits
Author, editor, proofreader, book junkie, hiking nut, NFL addict, cat lover

I don't have to search my memory very hard to know that students forget things over our rather long summer break. Thanks for suggesting some solutions.

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