It’s hard to believe another school year is coming to an end and summer is right around the corner!

While the season of swimming pools, sports camps and family vacations is fun-filled, often students experience the “summer slide” – or loss of skills and knowledge that occurs over summer break.

Research shows that students may lose up to two months of reading skills and two-and-a-half months of math skills due to summer slide.

Here are seven “hacks” to help your student(s) keep their skills sharp – and have fun while doing it:

  1. Unlock the joy of reading! Summer is a great time to fall in love with reading – and kids are more likely to read books they select themselves. So take frequent trips to the library, help them find books or magazines about topics they’re into (Sports? Animals? Cooking Shows?), and let your kids catch YOU reading (or better yet, pick a book or series to read TOGETHER this summer!). Having reading role-model parents or a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids’ reading frequency than household income.
  2. Reap reading rewards– Got a kiddo that likes to compete? Work toward a goal and win prizes. There are many local programs that celebrate kids’ reading achievements. Here’s a great roundup from Louisville Family Fun:
  3. Leapfrog ahead in tutoring progress – Children with diagnosed learning differences (especially those completing the Barton’s system for dyslexia) are encouraged to maintain their tutoring regimen over the summer. In fact, summer is a great time for students to leap ahead in their progress. Research shows that a minimum of two hours per week is necessary to make progress. Starting back up in August can cause students to have to repeat work they’d already completed.
  4. Check out area camps– Academic and enrichment opportunities abound in Louisville over the summer – from the Louisville Zoo and the Louisville Science Center, to Derby Dinner Playhouse and the Parklands. Check out this comprehensive guide:
  5. Maximize car time– Going on vacation? Another trip to the ball field? Card games or flash cards (or even writing postcards!) are handy for passing time in the car and help kids brush up on sight words, spelling, and math skills (Go Fish, anyone?).
  6. Gamify outdoor play– Give each dive stick a point value and have kids total up their score while at the pool. Paintbrushes, water and a pool deck give you a great “writing” canvas. Turn fun summer activities into games that help hone skills. Writing sight words in sidewalk chalk while you grill up dinner or playing an evening round of hopscotch create extra practice.
  7. Leverage tech love– Find games or reading apps that enhance skills. Create a system that for every X minutes watching a show or playing a game, they must complete X time on an educational game or app.

Remember to keep it simple and keep it fun! It’s summer, after all…