After a long period away from a traditional learning environment, parents may want to continue to provide educational activities during summer vacation to ensure kids don’t fall behind academically.
Here are a few creative ways on how to improve reading skills for kids this summer…while still enjoying the break!
Chalk the Alphabet, Names & Sight Words!
While the warmer weather usually signals the beginning of pool parties, water parks, beach trips, and outdoor sports, this summer’s recreation options could be limited because of continued social distancing restrictions. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun outside. Grab some colorful chalk, some sunscreen, and find a blank cement canvas.
Toddlers and preschoolers may not be ready to read books solo, but they can still work on letter identification and sounds. Practice fine motor skills and letters, too, with old-fashioned sidewalk chalk!
Encourage kids to write the alphabet or their names while also bringing an artistic touch to the patio or pavement. Parents also can help children practice their sight words with chalk, too. Just be mindful and don’t chalk property that isn’t yours!
Join a Summer Reading Club
Your local library has probably been shuttered during the pandemic. However, check online to see what resources are available for summer. Libraries may offer reading programs to encourage children to read while on vacation. Unfortunately, many children experience the ‘summer slide—learning loss associated with summer break. Continuing a daily reading habit may help children from losing proficiency.
Some local libraries offer incentives when children hit reading milestones; prizes may be awarded after a certain number of books are read or when a child reads a designated amount of minutes each month. Your library also may have a book club where children all read the same book each month.
Participating in book clubs and reading programs can create excitement about reading, and the extra reading exposure can help a child develop fluency and confidence. Go online to your local library’s web site and see what programs are available during the summer.
Read a Book, and Watch the Movie
Reading together or reading aloud to children still counts as reading! Hearing a story is beneficial (yes, for older kids, too!), and parents also can encourage their child to follow along in the text…or maybe take turns reading chapters. Pick a book—or, even better, a book series—that also has been adapted into a movie. After you finish the book, have a family movie night and watch the book come to life. Discuss the differences between the book and the movie. Was the book better? Or the movie?
Write and Illustrate A Story
You don’t have to be a professional author to write stories. Sit down with your child and create your own storybook. Have your child tell you a story and write it down together.
Children who are old enough to write fluently can take the lead in writing the story; parents should help, though, with spelling difficult words. Writing a book together can be a creative way to encourage children to sound out words or to help them with word patterns. Of course, children should illustrate their stories, too!
While creating a storybook isn’t about reading in a traditional sense, developing characters and a plot helps children understand how writing—and books—can bring your imagination to life. This is also a great activity for parents to do with their child…and to assist with spelling, punctuation and other language arts fundamentals.
Use a Reading App
For children who need extra reading enrichment during the summer, parents also can download a reading app like Readability to help with fluency, phonetic awareness and comprehension. Readability features an integrated AI tutor that was designed to recognize a child’s unique voice. If a child stumbles on a word during lessons, the virtual tutor will correct the mistake. During each story, the tutor also will ask questions to engage readers and help gauge comprehension.
Stories are leveled for each child’s ability, so lessons aren’t too easy or too difficult. Colorful illustrations and interactive features help keep children engaged and excited to keep reading. A built-in timer also helps track reading minutes. Parents can track their child’s progress via a parent dashboard.
Not sure if Readability is right for your child’s reading needs? Try Readability for seven days with a free trial!