By the month of July, students are happily basking in the midst of summer vacation, without the slightest worry about the impending school year. While the routine of school has been replaced with a relaxing and care-free schedule, one educational task is still needed—reading. Research has concluded that children who do not read during the summer could lose up to three months of progress. With a minimum of ten minutes of reading daily, the goal of surpassing the end-of-year level can be quite simple to attain. Through the guidance of book lists and a number of engaging activities, children can keep on appreciating the splendor of summer while continuing to learn and read.
One of the best ways to acquire high-interest books for your child is to receive a recommendation from your local librarian. He or she will be able to share vital news, such as popular titles or a great series. The public library often features a reading contest, not only to encourage reading among students, but to enable them to participate in the many activities offered during the summer months. Some libraries will have movie nights or scheduled game days, and feature exciting presentations in June, July, and August. Visiting the public library throughout the summer will boost interest and help young children to delight in the routine of reading.
If you are planning a long car ride, consider bringing along a few audio books that would appeal to the entire family. You may be surprised to hear fewer requests to use the bathroom or cries of, “How much longer?” Instead, every passenger will be keenly listening to the narrator’s voice, awaiting the next line. To help you select the right audio book, please be aware that children are able to listen to books up to two years above their reading level. To ensure your child can follow the story, it is important to ask questions as you are listening. Lastly, listening to audio books will improve the skill of listening and retaining information. While not everyone has the keen ability to listen, with time, the skill of becoming an auditory learner will improve.
Letters and Words to Reading Notes
From symbols on sign posts to the names of buildings, reading can be accomplished with a simple game. Allowing your children to be interactive passengers, ask them to read speed limit signs, interpret road signs, and read the names of various businesses and restaurants. With practice, the ease of pronouncing words will improve. Preschool children will also enjoy matching the word with the household object. (Begin with object and word, together, to build a sight recognition.)
Also, try these other activities:
- Early Elementary School: Allow your child to write the shopping list. Whether they are practicing writing your words or spelling each word on their own, writing, especially in color, is visual and will assist a child to remember.
- Elementary Ages: Leave hand-written letters to your child, listing chores or reminders for the evening activities. It may even be fun to leave more than one letter!
- Pre-Teens and Teenagers: If you are a working parent, begin the tradition of writing a letter to your child. Start reading her book, or make a recommendation to read a novel or series together, and discuss it through e-mails.
The Power of Color
We often use color to help our eyes locate information quickly. How often have you underlined a phrase with a red pen or a yellow highlighter? When color is used, information is more likely to be remembered. Consider how you use color to emphasize a point, a word, or a picture.
- Children who have trouble pronouncing a word may need to “see” it differently. Try emphasizing a letter(s) or an entire word in color. (Present consonants in blue and vowels in red.)
- Allow a young child to take a “picture walk” before reading. She will likely be prepared for the events of the story and can then read with more confidence.
- Before discussing a story, first invite your child to illustrate it. Details that may not be revealed in writing may be included in the picture.
Some activities require preparation; yet, aren’t the leisure days of summer the perfect moment to explore creativity and learning?