By the month of May, I am ready to be done with the homework and reading logs. The thought of having a little less responsibility as a parent is such a good feeling. When June rolls around, I am as happy for this much needed break as my kiddos. But as a former reading specialist, I have to follow my own advice and keep my kids reading!
Teachers refer to a loss in reading ability over the summer months as the summer slide. When a student does not continue reading over the summer, they can forget some of the crucial things they learned in the previous school year. A loss in vocabulary or a child’s reading level means that they will start the next school year at a disadvantage. The good news is that a parent has the power to end the summer slide just by adding in 20 minutes of reading a day! This can be done in a variety of ways.
Ways to Prevent the Summer Slide
The McAllen Public Library has a great summer reading program. This reading program is geared toward the entire family and is FREE! There are three levels that include birth-6th grade, 6th-12th grade and 18 years old and above. You can register beginning June 1st and check out their website for more information.
There is no better way to add some quick reading time into your day than poetry. Poetry isn’t as lengthy as books and is a great way to add some repeated readings into the day. Repeated readings are when a child reads the same passage or page three to four times in order to improve their fluency. Fluency is being able to read out loud with the correct speed, accuracy and expression. It can also be described as reading that is smooth rather than choppy. Plus, for a child who does not love reading, silly and funny poetry can be highly motivating.
Parent/Child Book Club
As your child enters upper elementary school, you may begin enjoying the same reading material. Perhaps there is a classic book you missed out on as a child or would love to revisit. Maybe there is a new book or series you have been interested in reading, but needed an excuse to try. There may even be a shared parent/child interest that could be explored through reading. Consider discussing these ideas with your child and picking a common book you both can read and enjoy. Your child may even decide to compete with you and throw themselves into the book with the promise of time to discuss the book with you later.
Taking the time to model good reading by reading aloud in a variety of ways is another great way to add 20 minutes of reading into your day. This can be done through fiction and nonfiction material. Reading aloud to your child has a great number of positive effects.
- Reading aloud to your child helps them increase their attention span.
- The child is exposed to different genres.
- Reading aloud to a child can greatly increase their vocabulary.
- As parents, it is our job to model expressive reading.
- Reading aloud can help show your child that reading is meant to be enjoyable.
Keep books readily available at all times. These books need to be at their “just right” level. Books that are too challenging for a child do not inspire them to keep reading. A great way of picking a “just right” book is by asking the following questions:
- Does your child know most of the words in the book?
- Does your child understand what they are reading?
- Are they reading at a steady pace that is not too slow or too fast?
Although you may be sick of reading logs, it is important that your child tracks what they are reading. A chart that is visible in the home is a helpful tool to ensure that reading is taking place every day! A reading chart enables you and your child to visually see real, tangible results. It gives the parent the opportunity to praise the child while giving the child something they can be proud of and show off to visitors. CLick the link below to download a chart you can use to log summer reading.
By making reading part of your daily activity, it gives you as the parent the opportunity to create celebrations once goals are reached. Once you set goals such as a certain number of books read or so many minutes of reading is complete, you have the opportunity to celebrate these milestones! I often use my boys’ favorite ice cream store as a reward for meeting their goals. No matter what type of celebrations you have for reading, the emphasis can be on how important it is to KEEP READING!