School is out for the summer, but how do you avoid a “summer slump” in reading skills? Here are a few tips for parents to help kids get ready for learning and reading in the fall:
- Find ways to talk, read and write everyday.
- Read to your child for 15 minutes or more every day, at different intervals so reading becomes a routine.
- If your child is already a reader, you should still keep reading aloud – it will help with comprehension and vocabulary development.
Make friends with letters
- When you read to your child, point out letters and the sounds they make. Find common letters on a page, or letters that are in your child’s name.
- Point out and talk about letters when you see them on signs, food boxes, buses and other high-visibility places.
- Whenever you’re waiting – at a traffic light, in a restaurant, etc. – play the “alphabet game.” Think of words that start with the same letter or the same sound, then take turns coming up with as many different words or sounds as possible.
Make words part of your routine
- Teach your child one new word and it’s meaning at mealtime everyday.
- Practice words using “running commentary.” When you and your child are doing something together, describe the activity to your child and then “watch, wait and listen.”
- Find new and different words every day and write them down, talk about their meanings and try to use them throughout the day. By the end of the summer, your child will have improved his or her vocabulary by 100 words or more.
Make writing the flip side of reading
- While parents are getting dinner ready, give kids 10-15 minutes to draw, write or paint.
- Make your child a personalized “writing box” with their name spelled on it using capital and lowercase letters. Put their pencils, scraps of paper, a scissors and tape inside.
- Buy a small notebook and encourage your child to draw something that happened in a story they liked, or draw a picture of a feeling, an animal or an event. Then, talk about the drawings and write a few recurring words with your child and read the words together.
About Kate, our guest blogger
Kate Horst has 35 years of experience teaching reading, training instructors and overseeing teacher professional development in Minnesota and California. She is currently the Pre-K program coordinator and professional development coordinator for Minnesota Reading Corps. Kate is a recognized expert in early literacy intervention and has created several training courses on the subject, most notably the popular SEEDS series of curriculum and training texts used throughout the Minnesota Reading Corps program.
Image by: thesemomentsofmine.com