Friday, July 4, 2008

Sue Scheff: Summer Reading Tips for Parents

It is summer and a time to encourage your kids to read! Help make reading fun for your kids!

Source: National Center for Learning Disabilities

Summer shouldn’t mean taking a break from learning, especially when it comes to reading. Studies show that most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months, but children who continue to read actually gain skills. During the summer parents can help children sustain (and even bolster) reading skills, strengthen their vocabulary and reinforce the benefits of reading for enjoyment.

Remember that children need free time, away from structured academic learning, and the summer is the perfect time to relax and enjoy the pleasures of childhood. So summer reading should be fun. The following are a few tips to make summer reading enjoyable for your children:

Read aloud together with your child every day. Make it fun by reading outdoors - on the front steps, patio, at the beach or park. Also, let your children read to you. For younger children, be sure to practice letter-sound correspondence, do lots of rhyming and clapping out syllables, and explore the relationships between oral language and print.

Set a good example! Keep lots of reading material around the house. Turn off the TV and have family reading time (including mom and dad).

Let kids choose what they want to read, and every so often, read the same book your child is reading and discuss it.

Buy books on tape or check them out at the library. This can be especially helpful for a child with a learning disability. Listen to these recordings in the car, or turn off the TV and have the family listen to them together at home.

As you go through the day - cooking, gardening, grocery shopping, playing games - utilize this time as an opportunity to engage in verbal word play, vocabulary building, recognizing new and familiar words or attaching meaning to words and sentences.

Take your children to the library regularly. Most libraries sponsor summer reading clubs with easy-to-reach goals for pre-school and school-age children. Check the library calendar for special summer reading activities and events. Libraries also provide age appropriate lists for summer reading.

Subscribe, in your child’s name, to magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, or National Geographic World. Encourage older children to read the newspaper and current events magazines as a way of keeping up the reading habit over the summer and enhancing a growing vocabulary. Ask them what they think about what they’ve read, and listen to what they say.

Ease disappointment over summer separation from a favorite school friend by encouraging them to become pen pals. Present both children with postcards or envelopes that are already addressed and stamped. If both children have access to the Internet, e-mail or instant messaging are other options.

Trips can be a fun way to encourage reading. Ask your children to read traffic signs and billboards aloud. Show them how to read a map, and once you are on the road, let them take turns being the navigator.

Encourage children to keep a summer scrapbook. Tape in souvenirs of your family’s summer activities - picture postcards, ticket stubs, photos. Have your children write the captions and read them aloud as you look at the book together.

Adapted from “Summer Reading Tips for Parents” by the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.