- Instant Reader
- August 31, 2017, 10:59 pm
Summer usually means a much-needed vacation for kids, but it can also mean a vacation in learning and, in many cases, an undesirable loss of newly developed reading skills.
Summer doesn’t have to be a pause to your child’s progress.
The so-called “summer slide” is particularly challenging for kids who are already struggling with reading. If you don’t want to risk a child getting off-track this summer, it’s important to make sure you provide him opportunities to practice his mounting reading skills. Summer doesn’t have to be a pause your child’s progress, and it can even be an opportunity to gain reading fluency and eagerness.
The first thing kids need to keep reading during the summer is easy access to books. During the school year, most of the books they read may be assigned for class. Summer gives you the chance to spice things up by introducing reading that is more fun and tailored to your child’s interests.
Follow the five finger rule.
When choosing books for your child, you may follow the “five finger rule” as suggested by the reading experts. Have your child open up a book and read the first page. Have him raise one finger for every word he doesn’t know. The book is probably too hard if he has more than five fingers raised at the end of the page.
Summer reading books shouldn’t be so easy either that they are boring, but remember, they also shouldn’t be so challenging that they frustrate a child. It is important for kids to experience the confidence that comes from succeeding with a book. The best part about summer reading is that it gives kids the opportunity to build up positive experiences—reading should always be fun and exciting.
Another great resource for recommending books are your child’s teachers and tutors. They’ll be more attuned to books that are at your child’s “autonomous level”—books he can comfortably read by himself—and books at his “proficiency level,” which are a little more difficult. Kids actually need to experience both.
Read more books aloud.
A great way to expose kids to books that are slightly outside their range is by reading more difficult books aloud. As a general rule, it is good for kids to read things at their autonomous level and be read to at a higher level because it helps to build vocabulary and actually makes the listener a better reader. According to reading expert Susan Shawrtz, “Reading aloud is actually one of the best ways parents can help improve reading skills. You should read to your children every day, especially during the summer. Not only is it a fun, immersive experience for your child, it’s also a learning one.”
Make reading a fun and interactive experience.
Making reading more interactive is a good idea. Although it is a solitary activity and a painful one for struggling readers, reading didn’t actually start out that way. Most kids’ first experience with reading is surrounded with lots of love – sitting with their mom or dad reading to them. The key is to continue that first positive experience. That is the reason reading aloud every day to kids is so important.
Your child should read out loud, too. If there are any younger children around, it’s a great idea to have your child practice reading a storybook to them. You can also take turns reading pages with your child.
Show interest in what your child reads.
When a child is reading independently, ask him what he’s reading. Show interest in what he reads. Your kid will definitely appreciate it, and at the same time, you get to monitor his comprehension. Ask about the characters and the problems they are facing, and encourage your child to ask questions and reread tough parts with you. Take time out reading the book concurrently as your child for a better conversation.
Enroll your child at a summer reading program!
Most tutorial centers also have a summer reading program, which is another great way to make reading more interactive. The programs typically offer built-in incentives like stickers and stars as a reward for kids who progress well. Instant Reader loves tutoring kids in the summer because it’s the perfect time to develop mastery. Summer gives kids greater opportunity to focus. Teaching a child every day for thirty minutes to one hour is much more effective than tutoring them once a week for two to three hours. Kids are better able to concentrate and less likely to get frustrated during shorter sessions.
Always be encouraging.
Whether you decide to practice drills, try tutoring, or just join any reading program, the most important rule to summer reading is to be encouraging. Help your child have fun, positive reading experiences, and you’ll see his skills mastery and confidence grow, too.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Teacher Vicki the author and founder of Instant Reader™ . My 25 years in the teaching field continues to strengthen my conviction that an effective and proper reading foundation indeed gives any child a significant edge not just in school but life in totality. Children who are early readers are lovers of learning. They lead, they stand out and are able to unleash their full potentials.
I want to hear from you. Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are very much welcome. It’s always great to keep on learning from each other.
( BS Development Communication, UP Los Banos; M.A.in Education, UP Diliman; Diploma in Dyslexia , Blackford Centre for Dyslexia, UK, London)