Read and Write Over the Summer? Yes!
by Nancy Monson
Here are some ways to keep reading and writing friendly companions to your child during the fun and chaos of summer break. Try the ones that will work for you and your child, and most importantly, DON'T GIVE UP! Your conviction and determination to build a solid foundation in the language arts is what makes it happen. Stay enthusiastic, (even when you feel like yelling, "You HAVE to read!!!"), stick to whatever program you set up, and STAY INVOLVED.
These suggestions will need modification according to age.
- Set up a family reading time when everyone in the house is reading. The house is quiet and children can focus. You instill in your child the love of reading by example.
- Have discussions with your child about what they are reading. Tell them about what you are reading. An easy time might be at the dinner table or before bed for younger children.
- Read to your children books that are longer, having more depth and meaning. Get into it! Use different voices for the characters, leave time for questions, even act out part of the story (fairy tales are good).
- Take your children to the library and have the librarian help them pick out books. Don't push books that you think they should read (but you can pick out those books and add them to their pile, with the casual comment that they might look through them... or read those books to them out loud). The library and book store will have recommended reading lists.
- Start a library. Make it something special by having a library corner in their room.
- Set up a cozy, even secretive place to read. Younger children love to have a hide-a-way they can crawl into.
- Go outside, under a tree, with a blanket and a snack for reading time.
- Make a star chart with fun stickers for reading a certain amount every day and have rewards such as overnights, movies, special trips . This makes the process visible to the child.
- Check your local library for reading clubs.
- If your child is struggling, find a tutor. Having older children read with younger children can put a fun twist into it.
- Keep a journal. Buy a special book and write every day at a certain time like in the morning or before bed. Don't worry about spelling or grammar; this is for the child to write about events, feelings or whatever they want.
- Have the child dictate stories and you write them. They can illustrate them and have a book of stories, real or made up, at the end of vacation.
- Have older children write one book report or movie review they present to the family.
- Write letters to classmates, friends or relatives they don't see over the summer.
- Get picture books without words and write a story. Use pictures from magazines, family photos or original drawing.
© Nancy Monson, 2005. All rights reserved.
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