Summer is upon us, and with it comes the splash of waves at the pool, the glare of the sun at the boardwalk, open bottles of sunscreen and the summer slide. While we are all busy planning our summer activities, it’s easy to forget the educational ground that can be lost during students’ months-long vacation from school — also known as the summer slide. According to a report from the National Summer Learning Association, a conservative estimate of lost instructional time during the summer is about 22 percent, or roughly two months of the school year. Additionally, the Association suggests that teachers typically spend the first month of school re-teaching content from the previous year — precious time that could be spent diving into new skills and content building upon previous knowledge.
But Rocketeers don’t have to slide. Here are four ways that parents, caregivers and siblings can help students retain knowledge and even grow their brains between trips to the park and picnics at the beach.
Students benefit from listening to expert readers. Develop a 20-minute reading fluency routine by following these steps.
1. Choose a passage at your Rocketeer’s reading level. You will read this same passage daily for one week.
2. Sit side by side with your Rocketeer. Take turns reading the passage — you read first, and then ask the student to read the passage after you.
3. Record how many words the student was able to read independently on that first day, and then track your Rocketeer’s progress through the week. Not only will this build investment in the fluency routine, it will also build confidence for your student as she enters the next grade!
If no adult is available, many libraries have audio recordings and matching books that a student could listen to and read daily. If you need reading materials, check out your local library, ReadWorks or reach out to your Rocketeer’s literacy teacher!
As students begin to read, there are a number of words that appear frequently and require memorization. These words are called sight words, and they are easy and fun to practice at home. First, ask your Rocketeer’s literacy teacher for a list of sight words your child needs to practice in order to increase her reading fluency. Then, get creative! Check out Education.com’s list of sight word games, and make up some of your own. One example is Sight Word Hunt. To play this game, follow these steps:
1. Write down 10-15 sight words from your Rocketeer’s list on index cards.
2. Copy those same words onto Post-It notes or scraps of paper.
3. Hide the words around the house—in the fridge, on the mirror, on top of the TV.
4. After giving your child the index cards, send them on a Sight Word Hunt to find (and read!) the match around the house. If you’re outside enjoying the summer weather, try turning this game into a sight word egg hunt!
Summertime is known for the release blockbuster films. Whether you’re seeing Maleficent or Spider Man 2, this can be the perfect season and opportunity to improve your Rocketeer’s reading comprehension skills. By asking questions aligned to standards, students will be building their brain muscles without even realizing it! Some important skills and questions include the following:
- Pretend I’ve never seen the movie before. Tell me what happened!
- What was the main idea of the movie?
- Who were the characters in the movie?
- How did the main character change from the beginning of the movie to the end?
- What was the moral or lesson of the movie?
- What was the setting of the movie?
- What was the problem in the movie, and how was it resolved?
- Which character did you like the most? Why?
- How did (Character) handle (Situation)? What would you have done? Why?
Movies can also be a great time to talk about dialogue and vocabulary. Ask your Rocketeer to listen for three words that they don’t know the meaning of during the movie, and then use an online dictionary or website to explore the meaning of those words together. If your Rocketeer is extra creative, ask her to write an alternate ending to the movie!
On June 1st, The San Jose Public Library is launching its Summer Reading Challenge. The challenge: both adults and students dedicating at least 20 minutes daily to reading. During the challenge, participants will read, learn, explore and energize together through a variety of games, puzzles and quests both online and in the library. They will be invited to free events and will even be able to earn prizes when they fully charge their reading battery! Most importantly, participants will work together to avoid slipping down the summer slide. To learn more about the Challenge, please visit any of the San Jose Public Library branches or log on to their website.
Logan came to Rocketship in 2013 after spending three years in a neighboring district in east San Jose. She learned about Rocketship’s inspired full inclusion model and knew within her first days as a Rocketeer that she was in the right place to influence change for all students. Logan is most inspired by her students who seem to inherently understand that learning can be messy and difficult, but who are willing to jump in headfirst anyway. Logan lives with her husband and her dog in sunny Santa Cruz and spends her extra time playing on the beaches or hiking underneath the redwood trees in her backyard.