To get the most out of summer reading, get involved yourself. It isn’t enough to just give your child a book. It’s the time you spend making sure the book is the right level, and talking about the book that makes a big impact. For reading to improve, children need to understand what they are reading. Having a conversation about a book deepens learning and helps children maintain their skills through the summer months.
To make sure your child is reading at the right level, try the five finger rule. Choose a page to read. Each time your child comes to a word he or she doesn't know, put one finger up. If you have five fingers up at the end of the page the text is too hard - for now.
Make summer reading fun and creative. Try something new! Try reading non-fiction, magazines, comics, online blogs and recipe books. Play word games in the car and do crossword puzzles. Write a grocery list or a letter to a grandparent. Write a story and illustrate it to make your own book. Keep a summer photo journal.
Talking about what you read is a great way to connect and deepen your child’s understanding. Try these questions to get a conversation going:
- What do you think will happen next?
- Does this make you wonder about anything?
- What was your favorite part of the story?
- What did you learn?
- How did the characters change over time?
- What was the problem in the story?
- How did the problem get solved?
Here are a few more ideas to keep your child reading this summer:
- Read aloud together with your child every day, and let your child read to you.
- Get your child trading books and comics with their friends. Hold a book swap party!
- Set a good example by letting your child see you read. Crash out on the couch with a good book and a bowl of popcorn.
- Take your child to the library. Many libraries have summer reading programs.
Wherever your summer adventures take you, be sure to take a book. And remember what Dr. Seuss says…