The final bell rings. Your child tosses away all of their papers, stashes their backpack somewhere deep in their closets, and leaps into a summer, free of homework and classrooms. However fun this may be, it has been proven time and time again that not revisiting any of that old homework sets you back both mentally and academically.
In fact, summer learning loss is a common issue that parents encounter over the summer with their children. If there is no reinforcement, children can lose several months worth of academics and start the school year on a setback. For language-learning specifically, this is even easier to forget since language classes don’t make up the majority of the academic experience.
To maintain your child’s language growth and retain the lessons they’ve learned either in school or after-school, we have compiled 5 ways to reinforce their learning and even advance them over the summer break.
Set Aside Time Intervals for Speaking
At Jump!, we believe conversation and exposure are key. If your child has been learning Spanish all year in a classroom and you want them to continue over the summer, try having them watch their favorite TV show -- but with subtitles in the target language. Or, if you’re going on a long road trip, play some music in the target language to get them moving. These little integrations are key in sustaining language development.
Even more so, setting aside designated “language time” is incredibly helpful for preventing a summer slide in learning. Integrate these into weekly, or even daily “meetings” where you go through flashcards, watch a movie, or even have full conversations (if you speak the target language). We believe that the more exposure, the better.
We know, we hear the universal groan, too. However, grammar exercises are essential when learning a new language, and when coupled with having actual conversations, can be extremely powerful.
If you or a member in your family speaks the target language, conversation is key in learning grammar. The more you do it, the more you learn. If you don’t speak the target language, try working through flashcards with your child, offering fun rewards for getting the right verb conjugation. It can be tedious, but essential for learning any new language
Use Fun and Games
Now, it’s easier than ever to make learning digital. If you have an iPad, tablet, or laptop, you can use games online to help them learn. There are a plethora of learning apps like FluentU that are fantastic for learning Mandarin and Spanish. (Read this post for more iPad apps great for learning Spanish.)
This is a sure-fire way to get your child excited to learn more of the target language -- what could be more fun than playing with an iPad?
Improve Reading Comprehension
If your child is more drawn to books than tablets, consider buying books in the target language that they can try to read. We realize this is more challenging and can be frustrating for many children, but working through even one page a day is helpful for developing a more robust vocabulary and a deeper ability for reading comprehension.
Enroll in a Summer Camp
If the time in your schedule doesn’t allow for any of these tips, or you don’t know enough of the target language to help your more advanced child, we recommend enrolling in some sort of summer program that encourages language immersion.
Here at Jump!, we understand how summer can set children back by months if they don't maintain the skills they've learned during the school year. This is why we created our Summer Camp and Saturday programs. As a full-time (or even part-time) student in a summer camp, your child’s skills are sure to be reinforced and enhanced as the summer continues, leaving them to be very well-prepared for the school year.
We hope these tips helped you decide on an action plan for this summer, and how to maintain your child’s language skills! If you have any questions on language development, or want to inquire about our summer camp program, feel free to call any of our centers in Livingston, Edison, or Westfield.