Not often do I go on the day job soap box, but as a teacher I know how important it is to keep your children reading during the summer. So many school budgets have been cut that summer school is becoming a luxury. As it is, only the really low and needy kids will make it into summer school these days. But all children need to practice their reading during the summer. They lose important skills they learned during the school year if they don’t.
So here is a list of some things to consider from a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade experienced teacher to help you navigate where to start in your child’s reading needs:
1) Let them read for enjoyment.
A lot of parents try to force books on kids which tends to turn them off. Of course, sometimes it’s hard for a child to find what they like. This is actually part of the reading process, and trying lots of different kinds of reading is a skill they practice in school. Take them to the library and let them explore. Try not to limit.
These days there are a lot of different kinds of books to try. New classics have come out since you were a kid. The “Wimpy” kid series, lots of fantasy, graphic novels are some of the new popular areas that were absent 20 years ago. Let your kid “Go for It” and explore. You might discover some new fabulous novels as well.
2) Reading anything is good.
A lot of kids don’t find they enjoy books. But they might enjoy gaming magazines, code books, Highlights for Kids, or other reading enjoyment. Even the internet has vast amounts of reading to explore. Reading has changed it’s venue, and even Ereaders to phones have reading opportunities. Trying lots of different things is key. The summer can be a wonderful time to explore all these vast storage areas of new reading.
3) Practice makes perfect.
Kids are not perfect readers, and need practice. It’s called Independent Reading, and it’s the third prong of reading development. Kids need to read on their own for enjoyment. The summer is a time to really practice and make this third area of reading development key. The more reading children do, the better they will get.
4) Setting up a reading time is helpful.
Kids need routines. Just a basic time for Independent Reading time is a wonderful structure to get kids to practice. It can be chosen by the child or structured into their regular day. 20 minutes seems to be a good starting amount, but can be increased 5 min. each year. I wouldn’t go over 30 minutes during the summer unless your child wants to. Reading Time shouldn’t be torture, but for enjoyment. And if your child starts to want to read longer than the set time, brilliant. They should start to choose more reading time on their own so it doesn’t become a punishment.
In the end, your child should start to be able to enjoy reading whether it’s on the internet, with a book, on the Ereader or even a magazine. Reading should be for fun, and the more practice your child has at that, the more they will want to read.
Tiffany Turner is working on her third book “The Lost Secret of Dragonfire”. Her first and second books, “The Lost Secret of Fairies” and “The Lost Secret of the Green Man” are available on Amazon.com as a paperback and a Kindle Edition. She teaches during the school year in a California Elementary school, and has 13 years teaching experience.