Experts Share What Parents Can Do Now To Prep For Next School Year

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This summer, the National Education Association (NEA) is offering a variety of educational resources to help families contend with the summer slide and get prepared for the next school year. In partnership with WETA public broadcasting in the Washington DC area, the NEA is providing free educational materials to help kids with reading and writing skills, as well as resources for kids with special needs.

Summer slide,” or the tendency for kids to forget what they learned the previous school year and get out of the habit of doing school work, can be a struggle for any family, even during a typical year. However, between remote learning, short staffing at schools, and all the disruptions to our daily lives that the pandemic brought, this summer is a particularly challenging one for lots of families.

In order to stop the summer slide, and get families across the country prepared for a new school year, the NEA and WETA have collaborated on 5 great educational resources with a main focus on literacy. If you want to practice reading with your child, the following pages are a great place to start:

  • Reading 101: A Guide for Parents: This guide will give you a better understanding of what it takes to learn to read (and write) and how you can help your children grow as readers, writers, and learners.
  • Reading SOS: Experts answer real questions from families about reading and how to support their children at home.

The next couple of resources are perfect for families who want to work on writing and storytelling skills during the break from school:

  • Writing SOS: Experts answer real questions from families about writing and how to support their children’s literacy at home.
  • Family Storytelling: This resource provides a number of ways that you can make storytelling a part of the time your family spends together, which is an important skill for developing kids’ creativity.

For families who have children with special needs, this summer may be particularly distressing. Routine and consistency can be so important for these families, so the NEA has provided a resource made specifically for these folks:

  • Special Education and Your Child: This page features frequently asked questions about navigating special education services, particularly for multilingual families. 

Getting ahead of the summer slide with these resources and other educational activities during the summer can make the return to school much less daunting in the fall. Try setting aside a little time each week to work on some of these important skills with your kid during the summer months, and work on establishing a gentle routine of educational activities. These healthy habits will pay off when school starts again!

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.