Summertime is a Great Time for Learning

 

The summer slide is real, and after the challenges of this past year, taking advantage of the summer break to give your kids an academic boost is more important than ever.

 

The key to success is making summer learning fun and easy! Active learning experiences such as exploring a state park, visiting attractions child-friendly exhibits and activities, growing a garden, or doing a DIY beach cleanup are awesome ways to learn about something new. Your family can learn through everyday activities – it’s kind of like “hiding” the vegetables in the spaghetti sauce!

 

But be intentional, too, because your children and their success in school are worth it! Set aside time every day for reading, writing, practicing science and math, and learning something new. Make a fun chart and celebrate your progress with summer-themed rewards!

 

Here are some ideas and resources to guide you this summer, compiled by Volusia County Schools curriculum coordinators.

 

English Language Arts

 

VCS is partnering with the Daytona Tortugas for the Summer Home Run Reading Program from June 5-August 15. Students log their reading minutes and win awesome prizes! Participation details are at www.vcsedu.org.

 

Students have access all summer long to Raz Plus and i-Ready – both through their single sign-on using vPortal. Raz Plus is a digital library of books that students can listen to or read independently.

 

i-Ready Instruction is a digital resource that provides students with lessons based on their individual skill level and needs, so they can learn at a pace that is just right for them. Information for parents is available at https://i-readycentral.com/familycenter/what-is-i-ready/.

 

For some great book selections, check out this year’s winners of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award: www.floridamediaed.org/ssyra-jr.html. For older students, the Florida Teens Read list is here: www.floridamediaed.org/florida-teens-read.html.

 

Reading Rockets, a national public media literacy initiative, recommends building reading and writing into everyday activities. Some ideas: 1) watch TV with the sound off and closed captioning on; 2) read directions for how to play a new game; and 3) help with meals by writing up a grocery list, finding things in the grocery store, and reading the recipe aloud for mom or dad during cooking time. Reading Rockets also has a neat suggestion to encourage writing: Give your kids a few stamped, addressed postcards to write out and send to family friends and relatives so they can share their summer adventures.

 

Math

 

Zearn is an online platform the provides students with fluency practice and instructional videos to support mathematics. Access it on any device at www.zearn.com. Your children will also love Prodigy, which offers a game environment to support mathematics learning. It’s online at www.prodigygame.com.

 

Check out these math-themed books, and find them on YouTube for the video, read-aloud version!

  • The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill
  • The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang
  • Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes
  • A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes
  • Divide and Ride by Stuart J. Murphy

 

Here are two articles with great information to guide parents as they make this summer count:

 

Doing Math with Your Child – Promoting Problem Solving; Suggestions for Parents by Linda Levi  https://www.cgimath-tlc.org/blog/2020/3/20/doing-math-with-your-child-promoting-problem-solving-suggestions-for-parents-by-linda-levi

 

Fluency Without Fear: Research Evidence on the Best Ways to Learn Math Facts By Jo Boaler  https://www.youcubed.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Fluency-Without-Fear-1.28.15.pdf

 

Science

 

It’s summer, so go outside! A very important part of science is making observations and recording data. Watch and ID birds, start a garden, or go on a bug hunt with your child. All of these activities can strengthen their knowledge of the world around them and give them an opportunity to be scientists as they observe and write down their observations each day. You could also check out a book on a science topic your child is interested in from the public library. Build a love of science through their own curiosity!

 

Many of VCS’ community partners have summer programs for all ages – or you can visit for a day of family fun (and learning). Three must-see attractions with a strong science component are the Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS) in Daytona Beach, the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach, and the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet. The Charles & Linda Williams Children’s Museum at MOAS is a hands-on science center.

 

A few online resources we recommend:

 

Generation Genius – at www.generationgenius.com – is free for the summer! Your child can explore hours of fun learning science topics such as cells, engineering, structures of living things and space.

 

Start with a Book includes science topics, summer reading ideas, summer writing ideas, science activities and even certificates you can print out to reward your students. It’s at www.startwithabook.org.

 

Explore earth and space at the NASA Science Space Place: www.spaceplace.nasa.gov.

 

Discovery Kids is a go-to place online for games, videos, and learning materials to keep students engaged as they learn about science topics ranging from the Solar System to baby animals. It’s at www.discoverymindblown.com.

 

The U.S. Department of Education offers a free guide, “Helping Your Child Learn Science,” that’s filled with activities for pre-K to fifth-graders that you can do at home during the summer! The comprehensive guide is online at https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/science/science.pdf.

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