Beating the “Summer Slide”

As many of you know, I am a teacher and many people expect that I would have my children enrolled in the very best camps but that is just NOT the case.  We wake at 4:30am to commute to work by 6:45am every morning.  Much of the school year is spent rushing and being too exhausted.  My goal is always to make the most out of summer and allow my 3rd grader to explore and learn simultaneously.

Statistically, during the summer children lose almost half of what they learned during the summer.  Many teachers spend the first two months of school reintroducing students to what they covered last year and reviewing organizational skills.



  • Read


Get your kids hands on anything that they can read.  Reading with your kids help them achieve in all subject areas, provides intellectual escape, and increases background knowledge.  From Pre-K to adult-hood, reading is important.  Let your kiddies pick books that are one grade level ahead of their Lexile/fluency and if that is too hard, move downward until they make progress. (Great for Math in all grades)


  • Experiments/Examinations/DIY


From nature walks to cooking in the kitchen.  Allow your children to investigate and form predictions.  Creating observation charts or a presentation/drawing of what they found or cooked is a great idea.


  • Virtual Fieldtrips/Museums and cultural studies

Use the internet to help your kiddos explore the world right from home.  You can also get out of the house and visit your local museums and historical sites.  Search Google to find local historical landmarks and museums to help you.


  • Assessment Preparation


This is extremely important for High school students.  ACT/SAT preparation is extremely important for students who have yet to pass the FSA and/or plan to go to college.   11th graders should begin to prepare for the ACT/SAT by visiting their website.  Introducing students early to this test will strengthen their chances of passing and increase their confidence.




  • Writing Activities


Encourage kiddos of all ages to practice writing and learning to form complete sentences that restate the question/topic within their answers.



Here is a clip of a summer portfolio that I did for my daughter who is entering the 3rd grade next year.  I printed all the material from the links that were included in the post and I also visited my local Dollar General Store.

If you have any questions on resources or materials send me an email or leave a comment.



Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

downloadphoto credit: Google

I had often heard of the horrific times of slavery; after all, I went to an historically black university.  The intricate details of over 300 years and the mystery of emotions that one might feel if they were to be trapped inbetween two different spaces of time; to be entrapped in a world where you were thought to be no more than three-fourths of a human.  It was not until I began to read “Kindred” by Butler, that I saw the many layers of America’s racial history.  Butler’s sci-fi work is amazing and bursting with so much detail that you smell the deep south as you read.  Butler’s work is one to be remembered as one of my favorite novels.  This work reaches your soul and captures your attention for hours.  In the book, Dana is a black woman in 1970’s USA and is mysteriously and suddenly transported back to the exact plantation where her ancestors were enslaved. As her time-travel trips get longer (spanning many days at a time), she experiences first-hand the pain and burden of slavery. The urgency of Butler’s writing makes the physical terror of her situation palpable; the book grabbed my attention immediately and never let go.

I’d recommend this book to all ages! A magical whirlwind of the many strands that have helped to weave so many American families.

Books by Black Authors That You Don’t Want to Miss This Year

If you are an African-American fiction-novel fanatic like myself, then you’re hankering for your next book-fix. In these winter months, I’d rather curl up with a hot cup of mixed berry hibiscus tea and read. I’m currently reading the great Tayari Jones An American Marriage, and it is everything I am looking for in a novel right now. In Jones’ cross-examination of race and incarceration in America, the lives of newlyweds Celestial and Roy are at a turn just 18-months after their nuptial.

Photo credit:


Young Readers Become Strong Adult Readers & Critical Thinkers.


Positive reading experiences encourage more reading. The more children read, the better they will read.

Early readers can build their confidence and abilities by rereading books they are very familiar with. Repetition is good!

Reading and talking about nonfiction — not just storybooks — helps younger children learn information and skills that they need for academic success in upper grades.

How to help:

  1. Read and reread your child’s favorite books — electronic or print — and, eventually, she will be able to read them to you.
  2. Listen to your child read and tell you stories. Then, have a conversation about them.
  3. Play board games and card games and talk about what’s happening as you play.
  4. Limit and monitor your child’s computer and television time. During screen time, help choose programs that will both interest her and build knowledge. Ask what she has learned, and find books on these subjects at the local library.
  5. Expose your child to new things and information by taking her to a museum, the zoo, or a different neighborhood. Encourage her to talk about what she sees.


  • At 5 years, can say 3000–5000 words, speaks using complex and compound sentences, and starts to match letters with sounds.
  • At 6 years, starts to read words on the page and make predictions while reading, using knowledge, pictures, and text.
  • At 7 years, starts to read words automatically, and expands knowledge by listening to and reading books

The words we use in conversation are different from the words we see in books. Students need to understand this academic language in order to succeed in school.

Starting in grade 4, children are expected to “read to learn” — to gain information from books independently.

Children need encouragement, praise, and patience, especially when they are struggling in school.

How to help:

  1. Hang maps or other word-filled posters. Hang her schoolwork to show how proud you are and emphasize the importance of working hard at school.
  2. Challenge your child by reading aloud books or stories from the newspaper — electronic or print — that she cannot read on her own and by introducing her to new ideas and topics.
  3. Keep what your child enjoys reading around the house. Many children enjoy kid-friendly magazines that you can find at your library or order by mail.
  4. Talk to your child’s teacher. Learn about classroom work and how you can help at home.


  1. At 8 years, reads chapter books and is now learning an estimated 3,000 words per year
  2. At 9 years, can read aloud and silently, and understand what is read
  3. At 10 years, begins to identify the themes in a text