In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes,
classes or make them read books. But poor kids fall two months behind
in reading level each summer break, and that accounts for much of the
difference in learning trajectory between rich and poor students.
He then lists his favorite kid books and tells people to turn off the TV and have book time. This column has been on the top of the NYT chart all week, and it broke the bank with comments.
What are your favorite books for kids?
I also think it's really important to take your kids places during the summer. It doesn't have to be an expensive, theme-park sort of places. Just get them out of the house to smell fresh air and try new experiences. Take them around to do chores with you, so they learn how to shop for food and how a home functions (the laundry fairies don't wash their socks.) Take them to the Farmer's market and let them pick out the tomatoes. Take them to Starbucks with a book. Better yet, walk to Starbucks and chat on the way. Put time limits on TV and video games. Explain how they come up with batting averages, and it's an instant math lesson.
Books are good, but talking and walking and trying new things is also what summer is about.