The best way to prevent the summer reading slide is to keep kids reading during the summer. We wrote a previous blog post on how to motivate kids to read during the summer and we are back with more tried-and-true suggestions.
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‘Reading Bingo’ can help motivate the competitive child and serves as a visual reminder.
Simply post this Bingo Board on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board. Each time your child completes one of the reading selections, check the box. Once a row has been filled in, consider a reading reward for your child. We are all about building internal motivation, so we highly encourage you to reward reading with reading. Offer to take your child to a bookstore and let him or her select a book. Other reading rewards include ‘Family Game Night’, reading aloud to your child, or going on a camp-out and reading by the light of a flashlight.
How can I help my child build their vocabulary?
A strong vocabulary helps keep the summer reading slide at bay. Luckily there are lots of fun ways to help your child develop their vocabulary. There are a variety of games aimed at building vocabulary. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Hedbanz is fun guessing game that helps children develop vocabulary AND learn how to ask and answer questions orally. It’s hilarious too!
you can check with your local library to find out if these games (and others) are available for loan.
Want to develop vocabulary and encourage writing?
Read ‘Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words’, ‘The Word Collector‘ or ‘The Boy Who Loved Words‘. Encourage your child to be on the hunt for new and unusual words and keep a record of them in a vocabulary notebook.
What about building a body of knowledge?
According to Natalie Wexler in her book, The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System – and How to Fix “To acquire the knowledge and vocabulary that will help them understand nonfiction, children need to do more than read a single book on a topic before skipping to another one…They need to stick with a topic for days or weeks, encountering the same vocabulary and concepts repeatedly so they will stick.” (page 30)
- Does your child want to be a paleontologist? Read lots of books about dinosaurs. Even if your child is too young to read or a struggling reader, reading aloud will help stimulate their curiosity. Then visit a dinosaur museum.
- Is your child interested in outer space? Read a wide variety of nonfiction books about planets and stars then watch the stars at night or visit a planetarium.
- Is your child fascinated by water creatures? After reading nonfiction books about animals who live in the water, a trip to a local pond, lake or beach will bring these books to life.
- Does art tickle your child’s fancy? Why not read a biography of an artist and then visit an art museum? For those in the New England Area, here are just a few famous names to get you started.
Please inquire at your local library for free and reduced passes for budget friendly options.
My child resists reading, what can I do?
Reading aloud builds a positive attitude toward reading, models fluent reading, and exposes children to vocabulary and story language beyond what they are currently capable of accessing on their own. Audiobooks (#ad) are an effective way to allow children, particularly struggling or emergent readers, to enjoy books more independently. Local libraries even offer free audiobooks!
My child would rather watch a movie than read a book.
Why not make a deal with them? Read the book together first, then have a family movie night. The next night, over dinner, discuss which you liked better and explain why.
Sometimes it takes some peer pressure to stop the summer reading slide. Book clubs are a great way to encourage your child to read. Local libraries often offer summer reading clubs. If not, your child could start one of their own.
In fact, any of the ideas we’ve suggested are better with friends!
Does your child need structured literacy lessons?
It’s important to note that reading with and to your child has numerous benefits. However, if your child is a struggling reader, simply reading more will not improve their ability to decode (apply phonics patterns to read) independently. They will require more explicit instruction.
Our TPT store is filled with resources designed to support beginning and struggling readers. Don’t know where to begin? All of our resources include detailed and scripted lesson plans that are aimed to support teachers (and parents) in implementing structured literacy lessons.
Here are a few more resources to support parents and tutors during the summer.
All of the resources listed below are available for free.
- Phonological Awareness: This summer, Heggerty gives parents, tutors, and summer school staff access to high quality phonemic awareness lessons.
- Spelling High Frequency Words (or phonetically irregular words). Really Great Reading has a web-based resource to help your child practice spelling these types of words.
- Decodable Books: Beginning and struggling readers need lots of opportunities to read books based on phonics patterns. Reading Bear offers a web-based library of decodable books.
- Phonics and More: The website Starfall has a lot of resources for readers in grades K-3. It also has a parent-teacher center. We would recommend starting there to familiarize yourself with the site first.