Self Education: How to Continue to Grow Over the Summer

Summer should be a time of rest and relaxation.  With the break from school for our kids and a season of vacations for many of our staff and volunteers with their own families, we wanted the blog to follow suit.  So for the month of July, let’s take some time to revisit our three main areas of focus: emotional self esteem, emotional social self, and academics/education!  It seems that education might take a break for the summer, right?  Wrong!  Let’s focus on how we can encourage each other and our kids towards self education during this ‘break’.

Self Education: The Value of Literacy

The most available avenue to self education in the summer is reading.  With libraries full of available books for free and the internet as an incredible resource for free reading material as well: every child can read this summer.  You may ask, why encourage them to read when they’re out of school?  According to Reading is Fundamental: 65% of fourth graders are already behind their grade level in reading skills contributing to 8,000 students PER DAY dropping out of high school in America.  They also provided this startling statistic: 43% of adults are functionally illiterate in the US.  We want our kids to succeed academically and have the best chance a full life, right?  They need to have reading skills.

Make Reading Fun

Reading doesn’t have to feel like a task or chore.  Find ways to encourage your kid by making reading fun.  Have a 2 person book club.  Read the same book they do and have them put sticky notes in parts of the book that jump out at them so you can discuss the following week.  You could even make your book club more like a party.  Eat the kind of food they do in the book.  Does the book involve a park? Go to a park to talk about it.  Find ways to make the book come to life.  Also, with guidance, of course, let them choose books that interest them.  Libraries are a great resource but it can also be fun to visit a Little Free Library. The Little Free Library (locations near you can be found on their website) allows you to take a book, and leave one you’ve finished for someone else.  As a bonus: they are adorable – most having been put together and painted by families in your area.

More Resources for Self Education

Having a hard time getting your kid to read? Some kids are auditory learners. Perhaps an audiobook would be a great place to start for them.  Listening will still help them expand their vocabulary, hear good sentence structure, and embrace creativity!  The Hoopla app (free on the app store) will grant you 12 free audiobooks per month if you have a Hillsborough County Library card!  They have a great selection of children’s literature available.

Each of our IMT kids received a bible when they were matched with mentors – make sure that you’re encouraging them to spend time in the word on their own as well reading it with them during your time together.  While book club and audiobooks are fun ways to continue to stretch and push them educationally: so is being in scripture.

Have them set goals.  Do they want to read 3 books this summer? Great, be there to help them achieve.  Think of a way, together, that you will celebrate their success.  These rewards can be as simple as agreeing to take them to get another book when they finish to an outing they’ve been wanting to do as a finale to summer!

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