Welcome to the 2016-2017 First Graders and their families! I hope that you are making the most of your summer with lots of family time, fun with friends, and fresh air. Outdoor play is very important to a child’s development, and summer is an ideal time to skip, run, hop, swing, climb, swim, and explore the natural world.
While summer break is a wonderful time for students and their families to relax and reconnect, the "summer slide" isn’t as fun as other summer activities! Research has shown that children’s literacy and math skills "slide" when they don’t practice those skills over the summer.
The summer packet that is sent to your home provides a calendar of suggested activities to prevent the summer slide. The packet includes a review of Fundations skills, practice with numbers, handwriting/writing practice, and fine motor skills practice. Doing a little something each day is a great way to maintain the gains your child accomplished in Kindergarten!
As you will see on the calendar, reading with your child every day is important. You can make it fun or make it a soothing part of your bedtime routine. If you’re having trouble finding books to read with your child, check out http://www.readingrockets.org/books/summer/2016 for a summer reading guide.
If your child enjoys learning through technology or you want to mix up the practice options, these are good websites (that also have iOS and Android apps) for literacy and math practice:
You can also incorporate reading and math practice into everyday experiences...
Here are some ideas to build early literacy skills from Pearson Early Learning:
- Letter Search - Point out words on signs and in stores. Begin a search for the letter that begins your child’s name. Read the stop signs and the other traffic signs aloud when you are driving with your child. Find letters on products, on signs, and on television. Match the letters with the child’s first or last name. Play "letter of the day," in which you decide on a letter and go on a hunt for it.
- Labels - Label a few belongings with your child’s name, for example, a cup or a favorite book. Read the labels together.
- Notes - Write simple notes to your child. For example, write "I love you" or "Let’s take a walk." Your child can "write" notes back to you using words or pictures. Take turns reading the notes to each other.
Here are some ideas to build abstract thinking skills from the editors of Early Childhood Today:
- Count everything. Count going up stairs; count plates for meals; count raisins for snacks, and so on.
- Build with shapes. Have blocks and cut-out paper shapes readily available for making pictures, designs, and buildings. Point out shapes in everyday objects and try to re-create them with blocks.
- Encourage your child to sort objects. Sometimes the categories are obvious, such as when sorting silverware. But see how many different ways your child can sort other objects. For example, he might sort clothes by color, size, fabric, and so forth.
- Ask "Why?" and "What do you think?" Encourage your child to explain her thinking to you.
While you’re enjoying the outdoors with your child, you can also look for math in nature: Look for symmetry in leaves; count the number, sizes and kinds of trees on your street; and look at the various shapes and patterns of blooming flowers.
If you have any questions about the summer packet or First Grade, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAKE A SPLASH (not a slide!) THIS SUMMER!
I look forward to seeing you in September!