Ultimate Summer Challenge

Keep young minds growing this summer

As seen in the summer edition of Calgary’s Child. 
Author: Kate Schutz, Calgary Public Library Service Design Lead 

It’s safe to say that the excitement of summer can outweigh the motivation to learn. However, it is possible for kids to be in summer vacation mode while keeping their young minds active and growing.  

Summer slide, also known as summer learning loss or summer brain drain, is the concept that students lose some of the learning they achieved in the previous school year during their lengthy summer break. But summer doesn't have to be a time to fall behind on learning. Rather, it can be an opportunity to develop the habit of reading daily and having fun while doing it.  

We know it can feel intimidating to pick things up where teachers left things off. Here are five things to keep in mind while you encourage your kids to read and learn all summer long:  

  1. Let summer learning be different than school. Learning over the summer doesn’t have to feel structured like a classroom setting and there’s no set way you have to do things.  

  2. Let kids choose what they are doing or reading. Giving kids the freedom to pick their books creates a sense of independence. When they pick something that excites them, they will feel more motivated to keep reading. 

  3. Talk about and get excited about the day ahead. When you look forward to what’s coming up, you will keep things fresh and prevent your kids from becoming bored.  

  4. Plan to play. Incorporating imaginative play to learning isn’t just fun for kids, it also helps their minds grow. Check out Engine 23 at Fish Creek Library for a full, immersive play and learn experience.  

  5. Engage and follow-up. Does your kid like superhero books more than books about animals? The easiest way to find out is to simply ask!  

The best place to start? Sign up for the Ultimate Summer Challenge at Calgary Public Library, designed for readers of all ages. The challenge is simple: read every day this summer.  

Reading together can create a special bond between family members. Beyond encouraging the basic ability to read, family literacy creates a dynamic where learning becomes a shared adventure. From reading a bedtime story in a tent to impromptu spelling showdowns at the kitchen table, the impact of family literacy resonates far beyond the pages of a book. Even activities like playing board games, cooking together, or participating in Creative Explorers at Calgary Public Library can be a fun and easy way to keep your child’s mind sharp before heading back to school. Summertime learning doesn’t have to be intimidating and can instead be exciting and even a highlight of the summer.  

Ultimate Summer Challenge was designed to be accessible to readers of all abilities and backgrounds. With free access to books and resources at the Library, it is something all Calgarians can participate in.

The Challenge isn’t just for kids. Have the whole family join in — friendly competition can be very motivating! Registration for Ultimate Summer Challenge is now open until the end of August. Register today at calgarylibrary.ca/summer

School may be out for the summer, but programs at the Library aren’t. Enjoy in-person or virtual programs for all ages to learn something new, improve a skill, or meet new friends. Whether you’re reading a bedtime story, trying something new, or even playing games — there are plenty of fun ways to keep your kids excited about learning in the summer months. View summer programs on our website. 

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