Summer Lessons (how to keep the kids interest in learning when school's out...)

July 21, 2016


By now you may have settled into a summer routine. This often leaves parents with a kaleidoscope of thoughts: how to fill up all those free days since with a little under  two months to go? With this heat wave we've been having have you been stuck in doors? Whether it's heat or a sudden rain downpour or just plain boredom it leads to the opportunity to deal with summer brain. What can a parent do to keep the kids from forgetting things they just learned?

Whether your kid/s are ar summer camp, at home, or with relatives, here are some tips to maintain those skills learned throughout this school year.

1.  Keep reading.  I cannot stress this enough. Reading really is fundamental. If your child doesn’t already have a library card, get one this summer. Continue reading children’s books. Try to read books that your children can connect to their own summer experiences.

A resource for summer books

Great resource for readin

2.  Check out some new websites.  Around this time of year, I often help families clear out some apps on their tablets/iPads. I remove old games, organize the screens and add new apps. This way their children are exposed to new games and websites.  Take a few minutes one night and really look at + clean up the apps and bookmarks on your tablet.

Here are some websites + apps worth looking at this summer:

Curious George Day at the Beach 

Elmo’s Dress Up Time

Caillou Search and Count

3.  Build a new routine. Often at the end of these long summer days, kids can be exhausted. So bath time or story time might get shortened or scrapped altogether. Try to build a new summer routine. Look at a calendar at breakfast to go over what day it is, talk about what happened yesterday, what might happen today. Or everyday while applying sunscreen, guess what they might do at the playground or eat at snack.

Have a pad of paper nearby and draw one thing your child thinks they MIGHT do that day (or might play, or might see, etc). The key here is doing something similar each morning or afternoon when your child has the energy and interest. Keep it playful.  Focus on predicting/guessing what might happen. This helps broaden kids’ imagination and gives them space to share their own ideas.

4. Lastly, for those kids that were going to speech therapy during the school year but don’t have lessons over the summer: choose 1 thing they were practicing and keep at it. For instance if they were working on saying a specific sound (like ‘k’ or ‘d’), then while reading or while walking, point out things with that sound. Don’t spend too much time on your child saying it back  (if they do great, if they don’t, that’s okay too) - use summer as a time to keep that awareness up without the pressure to perform. Think about summer as a time to expose them and remind them of  their speech goals (“Oh you saw a dog. Dog has your dah sound. Remember you practiced “dah” with Vanessa, etc).

Hope your summer is full of sunshine and curiosity. As always, thanks for reading. Till the next post, take care.

Vanessa D’Auria is a licensed speech-language pathologist providing home-based services in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. For more information about Vanessa, visit or to ask speech/language questions, email directly at


Photo: The Neubert Gallery.

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