Now that summer is here, many kids are looking forward to enjoying some summer sun. Summer is a time for kids to relax, but they can also benefit from continuing to learn during their summer break. Your child can improve their learning by using the best online reading programs you can find to keep them reading and having fun at the same time.
How important is summer reading for children?
Summer school might seem like an option to keep your child learning. But, summer school can be costly and can often lead to fatigue for your child.
Summer reading can help to prevent the “summer slide”, or your child from falling behind over the summer. Reading is a skill that can be improved through constant practice. Reading itself is also a great tool for learning other subjects.
Several studies show that summer reading helps improve reading skills as well as helps with academic success when the new school year begins in the fall.
According to a study by John Hopkins University, lack of summer reading often contributed to the achievement gap. Low income children often start the school year with lower achievement scores, likely because they are not able to receive academic support over the summer.
This early year achievement gap can be remedied by incorporating a reading program over the summer for your child. There are great free tools available for children to use that can make their summer reading fun and effective.
How can I make my child’s summer reading more effective?
Reading over the summer can help your child maintain what they learned previously and also helps them learn more skills before the new school year. To make your child’s summer reading practice even more effective, consider the following:
- Choose books at appropriate reading levels – A good way to improve your child’s reading skills is to give them a wide variety of books. First, identify their reading level and find books that are at that level but also include books that are about one or two levels above. These books can be a good way to challenge your child but still allows them to read independently.
- Let your child choose their books – You can boost your child’s interest in reading by letting them choose the books themselves. This will make them more motivated to read and they can learn more about things that interest them.
- Don’t overlook vocabulary – Vocabulary building is a big part of improving reading. As your child reads, create vocabulary lists from words they come across and do not know. Then together look up the words and practice using them in their everyday language.
- Schedule reading sessions every week – In order for summer reading to be effective, your child needs to be reading consistently. Every week schedule some family reading time where you and your child just sit and read together.
- Get the whole family involved – In addition to family reading time, you can make reading a whole family hobby. You can choose a book or series of books to read together then have discussions over dinner or create activities like a trivia game night about the book.
- Use books as a reward – Making reading effective is all about prioritizing reading and books. Instead of giving your child a treat or a toy, you can use books as a reward. This shows the value you put on books.
- Set reading goals (but be flexible) – Setting reading goals can help keep your child motivated to read all summer long. Once you have created reading goals, you can create a visual like a progress chart that can help your child keep track and see what they have already accomplished.
What are the best online reading programs?
Another great way to get your child to read over the summer is to use online reading programs. These are a great way to encourage them to read more often over the summer break and also have fun, especially those in app form. Here are some of the best online reading programs for kids:
- Readability – A great overall online reading program is Readability. This app has a library of original stories that is constantly being updated with new materials, so your child will never run out of reading options. The app also acts like a private reading tutor by listening to your child as they read aloud and gives them instant feedback to help them improve. The app also provides progress reports for you so you can track your child’s improvements.
- Chicktionary – Vocabulary building and sight words are important for effective reading improvement. Chicktionary is a fun way for kids to build their vocabulary. This vocabulary game helps children improve their spelling skills as they need to arrange the chickens to spell the word correctly.
- ABCmouse- A classic reading program that uses games to improve various reading skills such as vocabulary and phonics. It is a great program to use for early learners as it starts off with alphabet practice.
- Hooked on Phonics– This reading program is another successful reading program that has been around for years and is now converted into app form. This is another program that can help early readers perfect their supported reading skills such as phonics and sight words.
- Sight Words Ninja – Sight Words are an important part of improving and building reading skills. Sight words are the most commonly used words in a language. When your child starts reading, they will learn up to 200 sight words! The app, Sight Words Ninja, is a game that turns learning sight words into a game.
There are many benefits to summer reading, especially for children. The key to getting your children to read during summer break is to make it fun for them. By using online reading programs such as Readability your child can learn and have fun at the same time.