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Top Summer Workbooks

Educational workbooks.

You fell asleep even just reading the words, right? I used to cringe at the thought of academic workbooks too, especially in summer.

IMG_6899Some research indicates that on average, children can lose 2.8 months of grade-level equivalency skills over summer vacation. That may not seem like much, but to those children who have worked especially hard during the school year, or had to “catch up” in some academic areas that number can be significant.

Now, B-O-R-I-N-G might be the first word that comes to mind, but summer workbooks from my old days have greatly improved. Here’s a rundown of a few top-selling academic summer workbooks to help better prepare your kids for the upcoming school year:

The Original Summer Bridge
My favorite summer workbook is the Original Summer Bridge for pre-K through entering fifth graders. I like this workbook best because it is a combination of academic subjects in one book, including reading, math, writing, science, social studies and fitness.

The first part of the workbook offers a few pages of work each day by rotating the subject matter.

The workbook is visually easy to read and well organized with perforated pages for easy pull out. Other cool features include (varies by grade level):

  • Summer Reading List
  • Monthly Goals
  • Word List
  • Character Development
  • Bonus Sections that offer hands-on activities
  • Sticker Incentive (the child can select after completing work)
  • Certificate of Completion
My daughter setting her monthly goals in The Original Summer Bridge Activities workbook.

My daughter setting her monthly goals in The Original Summer Bridge workbook.

The second main part to the program is a set of activity flash cards. These are great for on-the-go travel, or entertainment at restaurants.

Finally, The Original Summer Bridge workbook offers a free set of online companion tools to supplement the learning.

Cost: Amazon is about $5 cheaper than the bookstore or local teaching/learning store. Total cost from Amazon with shipping ran me about $11.

“Get Ready For” Dollar Tree Workbooks (same publisher as The Original Summer Bridge)
For those looking to spend less, The Dollar Tree store has a series of basic workbooks to help kids master early skills for grades kindergarten to first grade. Get Ready for Kindergarten includes Numbers, Alphabet, Shapes & Colors and First Words; and Get Ready for First Grade includes Phonics, Reading, Addition and Subtraction.

Cost: $1.00 per workbook (not including tax). This is a good deal for a basic lower grade workbook. Supplies are limited in stores. The workbook is available online with a purchase of 24 (one case), which is a great deal for teachers.

Spectrum Series
I purchased this workbook a few years back for my eldest daughter. The lightweight curriculum works well with supplemental practice drills. The books are educationally solid, and were developed to meet or exceed national standards. They offer all the basic subjects of math, geography, reading, science, writing, language arts, vocabulary and phonics.

The layout does not offer the bonus features of The Original Summer Bridge, but it is geared towards a focus on improving standardized test scores. Additionally, the books are available only by a single subject matter.

Cost: Around $5 and up on Amazon, not including tax and shipping. Available for $9.95 at Target.

Now, I may have not convinced you of the whole summer workbook strategy, however, the big plus of this “paper learning” is that my kids are temporarily shifting their attention from screens to paper and pencil. You know, like the good old days of summer workbooks – minus the B-O-R-I-N-G factor.

Giveaway! We are thrilled to be able to offer three OC Kids with their choice of “Are you ready?” with your choice of k-5th from Lakeshore Learning. Enter to win in the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are You Ready? Game Shows®
Is your child ready for the next grade? Find out—with our super-exciting game show! It’s packed with 6 fun games that let kids become game-show contestants—winning pretend cash for each math or language question answered correctly. Plus, after completing each game, your child wins a reward coupon—and is treated to the prize of your choice! Best of all, after you play, simply enter the game results online—and we’ll give you an instant online assessment that pinpoints any areas where your child may need additional help. We’ll even provide FREE printable activities that focus on the exact skills your child needs to practice, plus product recommendations to build skills even further—and ensure a successful school year! $29.99

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.



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  1. I would love to try these workbooks out with my son this summer.

  2. My kids love workbooks!

  3. This post so appropriate as I was stressing about which workbook to get for my daughter. I was going to compare some of the ones from the 99cent Store with the ones at the Bookstore but this is helpful. She’ll start kindergarten and I usually tear out the pages from the dollar store workbook and put them in transparent sheets so she can practice over and over again.

  4. I started in July a weekly curriculum. Monday, Wednesday, Friday we work on worksheets I print from educational websites, Saturday is a day dedicated to reading at least three books above his grade level, and Sunday we do Field Trips to any place educational. These workbooks would be so helpful and great to have!! Thank you for this awesome giveaway!

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