Have you heard of the summer slide? This is the phenomena that occurs over the summer months when kids aren't practicing the skills they need to maintain the level of academic achievement they have reached during the school year. If a student goes without reading during the summer months, they can slide back up to 3 grade levels by the time the new school year starts up!
So how can we combat the summer slide and still let kids be kids? A great way is to incorporate some reading and fun open-ended science activities into your summer routine.
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A great way for kids to do a little reading and then create their own science investigation is by using the Everyday Science Mysteries series from the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA). These books are meant to be guides for teachers, but could easily be used in the home as well. Each of the books includes short stories written for upper elementary and middle school audiences.
From determining why the mass of a piece of chewing gum changes after you've chewed it, to building a timer powered by water, there is a lot that can be explored through these stories. Although many of the mysteries ultimately have a "right" answer, there are so many ways to come to that conclusion that kids will have to use their own creativity and critical thinking skills to get there.
You can find Everyday Science Mystery books on Amazon, or purchase them at a discounted rate if you are a NSTA member.
If you are looking for picture and chapter books that lend themselves to science activities, then you'll definitely want to explore the Storybook Science Series at Inspiration Laboratories blog. This is a month of science activities linked to stories. You'll find our post: The Dandelion Seed: A Seed Design Engineering Challenge there along with all sorts of other fun activities. Check it out and then head to your local library to pick up some of the books.
Another favorite of mine that connects reading with authentic science is the Natural Inquirer, a free science research journal for students published by the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, the USDA and the US Forest service. These journals follow actual research scientists and their studies. The journal is reviewed by students before going to press. You can order free copies of the Natural Inquirer here.
Kids can also find science news articles written just for them by following the links on my page Science News for Kids.
If you are looking for other ways to engage kids in science this summer, you won't want to miss my post: Over 13 Ideas to Keep Kids Engaged in Science all Summer Long.
Read more about the summer slide here:
- National Summer Learning Association: "Know the Facts"
- Edutopia: "Parents: Inspiring Readers Through the Summer Slump"
- Homeroom Blog- U.S. Department of Education: "Become an "Education Coach" and Keep the Summer Slide at Bay All Season"
- Education.com "The Summer Slide"
Want to know more? Find out what other bloggers have to say about the summer slide:
- Thriving STEM: "How to Stop the Summer Slide with Science Books"
- The JE 411: "Summer Learning Loss is Real"
- Room to Play: "Why Boredom is Good for Kids"
- Planet Smarty Pants: "Why I am Not Worried About Summer Slide"
- 3 Dinosaurs: "Having Fun to Prevent the Summer Slide"
- Mama Smiles: "Fun Educational Activities to Beat the Summer Slide"
- Creative Family Fun: "Stop Summer Slide with Fun Reading Challenges"