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Education

Reading & Language

Summer Reading Tips for Parents of Kindergartners, First Graders and Readers & Writers

Father and daughter read a book outside

During your child’s school vacation, it is important for him to spend time reading and writing on a regular basis–whether he is a very beginning reader or a fluent reader. Luckily, summer’s more flexible schedule and wide array of activities lend themselves to literacy opportunities. Try some of these suggestions for making your school-aged child’s summer full of literacy fun.

  • Be a reader and writer yourself. When you spend time reading books on the beach or even directions for how to put together the grill this summer, you demonstrate for your child that reading is both fun and useful.
  • Set aside a consistent time each day for reading. Depending on your family’s schedule, reading time might be in the morning, afternoon or before bed. Whatever time you choose, stick to it, but also remember that flexibility around trips and special family events is OK.
  • Read aloud to your reader. As school-aged children become better readers, parents often stop reading aloud to them. However, by reading more difficult books aloud to your reader, you help him learn new vocabulary words, concepts, and ways of telling stories or presenting information. You also enjoy the closeness of sharing a book with your child.
  • Connect read-aloud choices to summer activities. Read your child books about camping, such as “Webster and Arnold Go Camping”, before or after a camping trip. When you read and discuss books about things your child has experienced, you help her learn important vocabulary and extend her understanding of experiences.
  • Allow your child to choose books for summer reading. While it is important for your child to complete reading required by his school, it is equally important for him to read about topics that interest him, whether it is insects, dragons or a favorite fiction series.
  • Help your child select books at a comfortable level. Listen to your child read. If he reads smoothly, uses expression and can accurately tell you what he read, the book is probably at a comfortable level. If you are having troubling judging, consult your local children’s librarian, who is likely to be an expert at matching books to readers. In addition, teach your child to use the “rule of thumb” in selecting books: if he makes five or more errors in reading a page of about 50 words, the book is too challenging.
  • Encourage your child not to limit summer reading to books. Encourage your child to read the sports page to check up on her favorite baseball team or to read children’s magazines such as Ranger Rick, National Geographic World and New Moon.
  • Read a book and watch the video together. When you finish reading and viewing, discuss the similarities and differences and talk about which version you prefer. Many books, including “Stone Fox”, “Sarah, Plain and Tall” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” are available in movie versions.
  • Take books along on outings. Pack books in your beach bag or picnic basket, and bring a stack on long car rides. You and your child can enjoy books together anywhere you go this summer.
  • Encourage your child to write this summer, too. From writing postcards to friends and relatives to keeping a journal while on a trip, summer presents unique ways for your child to write about his own experiences. Have your child pack a disposable camera on vacations or day trips and help him create a book about his experiences.

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