Some children, particularly those who already have reading and maths difficulties, are likely to lose valuable literacy and numeracy skills they have established or lose opportunities to improve vulnerable skills during the long summer break. Left unchecked, this learning deficit grows until by the end of their primary school years, the total length of the learning slump is many months long.
Children who maintain learning over these breaks have at least a year’s advantage, if not more, at the end of Year 6, than those who do not.
The learning slump is something that can be avoided. Children, who participate regularly in high quality summer learning experiences, do not experience this drop in progress. The holiday period is a chance to support your children’s literacy and numeracy growth by fostering areas that they are interested in or need maintenance in.
For example, your child may have a deep interest in a particular area. Researching on the computer, gathering books on the subject and reading them together could be followed by making a booklet or project.
Talking together and working together will help with their oral language development.
Helping them with a practical project such as designing and building a trolley or baking biscuits, where they have to measure and check, will help with geometry.
To encourage literacy:
– Get your child to read and write about their heroes, sports events and family outings and holidays in a holiday diary.
– Create word puzzles and do word finds together.
– Let them write shopping lists, emails to family members and poems and jokes to share. Stick them on the fridge for a while to let them have meaning and to share -with an audience.
– Try to provide a range of new and inexpensive experiences that promote discussion and vocabulary development. Drive through the new link tunnels, watch local regattas or take a train trip through the city.
Most importantly encourage ‘reading mileage’ by reading quality literature to your child. Let your children hear the tone and expression you use to give meaning to stories. The local library allows you to take a huge number of books out that will keep you and your child going for some time. Join the ‘Dare to Explore’ reading challenge at Auckland libraries.
– Discuss who their favourite characters are and why?
– Make predictions about what is going to happen.
– Ask if the story reminds them of any of their own experiences.
– Look up unusual words in the dictionary.
– Notice suffixes such as -ed or -ly endings.
– Discover words with prefixes and find out what they mean. For example: What is the meaning of the prefix ‘trans’ at the start of transport and transmission?
To maintain maths learning:
– Help them to notice patterns, shapes, size, order and numbers wherever you are. Work out patterns and make codes from numbers.
– Include mathematical ideas in their play, interests and everyday activities.
– Read stories and sing songs and rhymes that use numbers.
– Count as you walk or as you climb up and down steps. Spot numbers on letterboxes. What number comes next and what was before?
– Cook with your children and let them measure the ingredients. Shop together and count the items in the trolley.
– Build towers using building blocks. Match, measure and compare.
– Plan and make a trolley or a treasure box where accurate measuring is required.
– Read large numbers in your environment such as 42 thousand, three hundred and twenty three. Ask them what 100 more or 1000 less than that number is.
– Plan for a special event and make a budget. Bake and follow a simple recipe such as pikelets.
– Tell the time regularly and use both analogue and digital times. Check 24 hour time at the airport and work out what that means.
– Work out the kilometres travelled by checking the odometer in the car. Play maths I SPY – something that is ½ a kilometre away, something shaped like a hexagon.
– Practise basic facts regularly, including facts to 10, to 20, bonds (numbers that add together) to 100 and times tables.
– Maintain Mathletics while it is available in the holidays.
Let’s all work together to ensure that the children at Glamorgan enjoy their holidays but return to school ready and able for the challenges of a new school year.