Summer. We’re almost there. You can feel it. The Parent Stress Meter starts to lower by degrees.

Every year around this time of year in parent magazines and other related sources, you will see articles like, “Top Tips for Successful Summer Learning” or some variation on that theme.

For the kids that have been struggling during the school year, here is Selznick’s 9-Point Summer Plan to keep in mind as we go into the haze of summer.

  1. Kids Need to Be Kids. They need to play, run around, and have fun. That should be the top priority in the summer.
  2. Getting Off the Screens. Break their screen dependency. Get them outside. You may have go through a Screen Detox period, but hang tough.
  3. Less Competitive. Maybe your child has been “stressing” through the year over all of the evaluations, worksheets and tests that he/she has received, and needs a less pressured, less competitive summer experience.
  4. Follow Their Lead. What’s your child’s leanings and interests? For example, if your kid is a reptile/swamp type of kid, try and find an outdoor camp that taps into his passion. There may not be an exact match in your area, but try and find something close to the interest.
  5. Turn Down the Heat. Save some energy and strive to turn down the yelling, badgering, and pecking that is popular in households. It isn’t working. It’s only making your household hotter and the kid isn’t saying, “Thanks for yelling, mom, I understand. I will start reading now.”
  6. Independent Reading in the Zone of Competence. Sure, it’s great to have the child read some books this summer, but, you must have them read in their “zone of competence,” that is their instructional comfort level. Make sure you know the grade level your child is reading. Talk to the local librarian to guide you on some good books within the child’s zone of competence. One simple test to determine appropriateness is to have the child read out loud from a random page in a book that you are considering. How does the child sound? If the reading is relatively smooth, you’re probably ok with the book, at least in terms of the basic readability.
  7. Family Games. Find some old school family games to play (see point 2 – video games don’t count). It doesn’t have to be overly involved – play some Uno, for example. Old school lawn games are fun too. Maybe start a group jigsaw puzzle. Again, there may be some initial whining as you go through Screen Detox, but if you work through it, they will come around.
  8. Tutoring/Skill Development. After all of the above are in place, summer is a good time to target key skill areas that are in need of development. Before you start, though, make sure you know what your goals are for the summer tutoring before beginning. What’s the target of tutoring? Decoding? Comprehension? Writing? Math? Word problems?
  9. Don’t Think About September Every time you start thinking about something like school and September coming, let it go. Notice your breath and breathe in the summer!

That’s it – The Selznick 9 Point Summer Plan.


Summer time and the living is easy.

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