Memorial Day is right around the corner, and, as the unofficial start of summer, many parents who were homeschooling during the pandemic may now be faced with three months of vacation without having access to activities for kids. In some areas, pools remain closed, summer camps may have been canceled and sports teams’ schedules may still be up in the air.
Parents can use this time to help kids stay on target academically and work on math or reading to keep kids from experiencing the summer slide. Parents can plan daily reading comprehension activities at home to make reading enrichment more fun.
Why is Reading Comprehension Important?
Reading is more than simply sounding out the words. While a child may seem to read fluently—exhibiting correct annunciation and pronunciation—they may not understand what they are reading. Reading comprehension is all about deciphering the meaning of what is read and being able to explain the plot and examining the thoughts, feelings or actions of a character.
Younger children may be able to summarize a small book and say whether the character was happy or sad; they may point out story ‘villains’ and understand that some characters just aren’t nice. Older kids may delve deeper, being able to infer those same feelings and use those inferences to predict possible outcomes.
We all remember writing essays that required us to examine plot metaphors or analyze individual characters. These essays probably relied heavily on our comprehension of the book or story. If we don’t understand what we’ve read, then we are unable to gain knowledge or insight from that text.
How Can Parents Help Children with Comprehension at Home?
Some children may struggle with reading comprehension. When school is out of session for the summer, parents can help their child at home with those struggles. While parents can embrace homeschooling or daily reading lessons at home, some parents may not know where to turn to find materials that can help their child with reading comprehension.
Let Kids Read Comic Books and Magazines
If your child has a subscription to a favorite magazine, use the stories to help gauge comprehension. Typically, magazine articles tend to be shorter and quicker to read. After your child reads a passage or article, ask them questions.
Parents also can use comic books to encourage children to read and to help their comprehension. Plus, kids may enjoy reading comic books more than a standard story or book…especially during vacation. However, all reading is beneficial. Let your child read a comic book, and talk to them about the characters and what happened. Ask them what they think will happen in the next edition, too!
Online Sites Count as Reading, Too!
Screen time is a big worry for a lot of parents. Most kids are on screens during the day for school lessons; with online learning as the norm for several months, parents may be even more resistant to extra screen time.
If a child is reading, though, should the medium matter? Parents dictate screen time rules and regulations for their families. Yet, if a child loves that screen, maybe parents could consider using the screen as a benefit. Visit sites like National Geographic Kids that provide educational and interesting content.
Use those sites to get kids reading…and talk to them about what they’ve read. Ask all the ‘wh’ questions: who, what, when, where…and how.
Teachers Are a Great Resource
When parents are in doubt about what resources are best for their child, drop a note to the teacher. Most teachers are happy to make reading recommendations and also may be able to provide free resources available through the school district. Your child may still be able to utilize reading software or other tools during the summer. Printed worksheets also could be available. It never hurts to touch base with the teacher.
Use Reading Software
One of the best ways to keep kids reading during summer and help them with comprehension is with a reading app like Readability. The program is leveled appropriately to ensure that your child receives instruction and stories that match needs and ability. Readability’s unique AI tutor is designed to recognize your child’s voice; the tutor will provide feedback and corrections during lessons. The virtual tutor also asks children questions about the text to gauge comprehension.
Readability’s stories are engaging and incredibly visual. Children should have fun while reading and books and stories should catch their attention and stimulate their imagination. Struggling readers will find that stories offer captivating plots that match their age range…and their ability.
While many children may be ready to begin a leisurely summer vacation and permanently disconnect from those online lessons, reading daily or reading often can help them from falling down the summer slide. Encourage kids to read books, magazines, comics or online articles and talk to them about what they read. For children struggling to comprehend stories and books, parents can try Readability for free for seven days to see if the software works for their child’s reading needs.