Montreal

Curbing the summer slide: How to keep your kids' brains sharp over vacation

The "summer slide" happens when kids go on summer vacation and forget things they learned during the school year. But there are ways to stop it.

'Summer slide' happens when kids go on summer vacation and forget things they learned

Some experts say it's important to have kids read or even do homework during the summer to stop or slow down what's called the summer slide. (CBC)

Summer vacation just started for children across Quebec, who now have eight weeks to forget everything they've learned in school over the last year.

It's a phenomenon called the summer slide. Some experts say it's important to read, or even do homework during the summer to stop or slow it down.

Here are some tips from Grade Six teacher Amelia Crerar on how to keep your kids' brains sharp without hindering their summer fun.

Get your kids to read

According to Crerar, keeping up a daily reading routine is a great way to exercise children's brains during the long summer break.

"If children read four to five books during their summer vacation, that would help a lot come September," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Crerar advised parents to take their kids to the library, where there may be incentive programs where children win prizes for reading a certain number of books.

Here are some tips from Grade Six teacher Amelia Crerar on how to keep your kids' brains sharp, without hindering their summer fun. (Annie Deir/CBC)

Bringing books on vacation is another way to make sure they get their reading time in, she said.

Ordering books online is another suggestion Crerar offered. "It might be exciting to get something in the mail."

Finding book series is another way to get kids to read, as well as letting them choose the book.

"If your child can go to your local Chapters themselves, they are more likely to read it than if a parent chooses it or if a teacher chooses it," Crerar said.

Brushing up on French

For anglophone students taking French in school, it can be noticeable even over the weekend if children haven't practised.

That's why Crerar recommends fun reading, like a graphic novel or joke book, to keep up to date on a child's second language.

"I would recommend a French movie once a week," Crerar said, noting that changing the language on Netflix is a simple way to access French content.

Making it a fun experience with popcorn and chocolate might add a bit of incentive, she added.

Math in day-to-day life

Although Crerar has found her students less likely to forget math problem-solving than other subjects, there are some ways to keep numbers fresh in their brains.

"You go to the grocery store, you say you have $20, you estimate. What can I buy with this?" Crerar said. "You go to a restaurant, you say, you can spend $15 on your meal."

She also said baking is also a great tool.

With files from CBC Montreal Daybreak

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