Getting ready for summer

Parents play a critical role in the development of their child's reading ability, particularly with students that struggle with reading. It's critical that during the summer months children with reading problems continue to read or they may lose some of their skills.  Scientific studies  estimate that summer loss for all students equals about a month of academic learning. Most likely, children with learning disabilities need even more reinforcement. Here are some easy ways for parents to get involved with reading and foster the desire to read and improve your child's reading in the process.

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  • Encourage them to read for pleasure without the pressure they experience in the classroom by allowing kids to choose their reading material.  Comics make a great alternative.
  • Support them as they read. Read their book aloud to them, help them decode, and make it easy for them to decipher the meaning.
  • As they are reading ask open ended questions that start with how and why.
  • Ask the child to compare the story to other stories they might have read and make similarities and differences.
  • Give them material that motivates them to read, even though they might find it hard to do. If a child loves sports guide them towards books about athletes they enjoy watching.
  • If your family vacation is centered around the outdoors ask your child to read up on survival skills or animals and look at ways to draw out the material when camping or hiking.
  • If the family vacation is centered around site seeing have your child find historical information about the places you will be visiting.  Allow them to help plan the activities by having them do some research.
  • Show them that reading is a way to find out what they need to know, or even to entertain themselves. If your child loves video games have them red up on tricks to improve their gaming performance.
  • Give them easy reading. Summer is supposed to be relaxed. Let them succeed and get absorbed in the book simply because it's enjoyable.
  • When you read with them, make it your goal to enjoy the book together. You don't have to make them read perfectly!  Remember, your goal is to create an environment that creates a love a reading, not a resentment to it.
  • Let younger children "pretend" to read. Read the story aloud together. Let them follow your voice. Have them look at the words as you point to them, even if they aren't actually reading.
  • When they say the wrong word, say the word correctly and cheerfully while pointing to the word.
  • Read an instruction manual with them as you try to fix something. While visiting a museum, read the interpretive materials and encourage your child to help you read them
  • If your child has dyslexia accommodate it by controlling environmental conditions. For example, if your child is put in a situation where they have to read out loud, arrange it so they have access to the passage ahead of time so they can rehearse.
  • If you are sending your child to camp, ask the teacher or camp counselor to request volunteers to read rather than pass the book from one person to another.
  • If you give them a recipe for cooking (or any project involving written directions), be sure that it is at their reading level and that the print is large enough for them. Use technology.
  • Electronic versions of books can provide access to literature for dyslexics.  Combining auditory input with electronic media, books on tape or Learning Ally, and the visual input of written language can help the child's reading development and empower the child to read on his own.

At the end of the day your goal is to foster an environment that provides the means for your child to fall in love with reading.  Accomplishing  that will provide a lifetime of discovery and instill a love of learning.

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