Avoiding the Summer Slide with Free Programs

Before I get into today's post, I have to share with you what made me so proud of Hazel yesterday. She had decided she wanted to get her hair cut. She was not sure what she wanted to do, but mentioned the possibility of donating it again. With it long it gets tangled very easily and she hates brushing them out. Well at the hairdresser she decided she did want to donate it and got a cut similar to mine. She was very excited this morning to brush her own hair and put her own barrettes into it.

Ok, now onto our post. Do you worry about the summer slide?  
According to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills." Source: Reading Is Fundamental

Having watched Hazel learn to read this year as well as do some arithmetic and more, I know I don't want her to lose it. Her teacher sent the kids home with nine weeks of homework packets. Each day's homework takes about five minutes of questions and then fifteen minutes of reading. Although I do not push it regularly we do it, but I wanted more. I bought a couple of math games at Lakeshore Learning. The one we have played thus far is The Allowance Game. It helps strengthen her money skills which they had just done at the end of the school year. We have also done the public library's reading program each summer. Until now we counted books I read to Hazel, but this year it was a combination.

This summer's theme is "Every Hero Has a Story." Our library's program allows the kids to set their own goal for the summer. Hazel decided we would read thirty books. This week she finished her goal. We took her sheet into the library and got her prizes. They give a prize for each quarter of the child's goal, so she got to pick out four prizes from the prize box. She found four different rubber ducks. We still have to write the three book reports to get the tickets for the local country fair and lunch at it for Hazel.

However since this year there were so many snow days in our area, the public library's program did not start until July 1st. Hazel's school got out June 11th. We discovered she was eligible for the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program.  To participate the child had to read eight books and write a sentence about who they would recommend the book to and why on the form which you can download. This has to be done by September 14, 2015. Upon bringing in the completed form, the child gets to pick a book out of a selection for free. Hazel chose The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dale Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. This is a beginning reader chapter book with which she fell in love.

I read the book to her as one of our chapter books. The chapters are short and the book is a lovely story about Princess Magnolia who is a secret super hero--the Princess in Black. As the Princess in Black she fights the monsters that sneak up from Monster Land to eat the goats. Some of the things I like about the book is that the princess is the super hero. She goes to save the goats and the goat boy from the monsters. The goat boy watches her but does not get involved. This is the first book in the series. The second book will be coming out in October and we were luckily enough to get an advance copy from Candlewick Press to review for you soon! Let's just say a Princess in Black costume is on my list of crafts to make now and she may be the Princess in Black for Halloween this year and has mentioned having a Princess in Black birthday party at some point. She also named her newest baby doll Princess Magnolia. 
Source: Candlewick Press

Now the really exciting thing to me about this book is that she has read it to herself and to my father a couple of times in the past week. Although the names are not the easiest for her to read she has done a great job reading it and the second book in the series. They counted on her thirty books which she read for the library reading program.

This year our library also offered a Bedtime Math Summer Program. Hazel was very excited to complete it today and insisted we go get her prize right away. The prize is a glow-in-the-dark flying disc. Bedtime Math is a wonderful program and book. I get the math questions of the day emailed to me, but you can also visit the site daily here and click the fun nightly math link to see that day's problem. Each problem has a little introduction that usually is interesting and educational and then asks various questions for various ages/levels. There are Wee Ones, Little Kids and Big Kids and sometimes The Sky's the Limit. Hazel usually can do the Little Kids by herself and sometimes she can answer the Big Kids questions with a little guidance. For the library program she put a star on her chart for each question she got right or understood after some help. She has been begging to do the problems. We had a little break while we were away. Even if your library does not offer the program, you can get the daily problems to do with your kids all year long! We are going to continue doing them all summer and probably into the school year. We really are enjoying it!

Those are the things we have been doing to avoid the summer slide. What have you been doing for it?