Stopping the “Summer Rust”: a Teacher’s Perspective by Stephanie Ingerman

Old School
photo source: Ryan via Flickr Creative Commons

Summer–we all love it and we all need a little time off. But your child can fall as many as four months behind in their learning during the short break of summer if we aren’t continuing to focus on learning. I affectionately call that the “summer rust.” So, how do you keep the rust from settling? There are plenty of great workbooks out there and even some great websites, but there are also some sneaky ways to add in some learning with things you are probably already doing.

Let’s focus on literacy first. If you read your child will be more likely to read. If your child is a hesitant or reluctant reader, read aloud to them or listen to audio books together, especially on those long road trips. When you are listening or reading be sure to ask your child questions about what they are reading or listening to such as, “What is happening in the story? Who are the main characters? What was your favorite part and why?” Encourage your kids to write about trips you have taken together in a journal or draw a picture and write a story to go along with it. Another idea we enjoy is to keep a correspondence journal where you write to your child and they write back to you.

Now for math! Have your children tell you what time it is on an analog clock. Allow the kids to help you cook, measuring the ingredients and noticing which amount is more. Identify, count, or sort coins after receiving change. Go on a shape hunt around your house or neighborhood. Lastly, play games! Games that involve numbers, dice, patterns, addition or problem solving will help your child keep those math skills sharp.

In addition to literacy and math I am hopeful you will explore with your children, take a hike, try something new, and genuinely enjoy one another’s company.

Stephanie Ingerman is an elementary-school teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a mom to two kids, ages 7 and 9.