The school year is almost over and if you are like me you have already started planning your family calendar for the whole season. Before you declare all the planning done take some time and plan your summer reading adventure!
Summer reading isn’t just for fun it’s the best way to prevent summer slide. Did you know that it’s estimated that teachers spend on average 4-6 weeks re-teaching material children have forgotten over the summer? Think of all the time that teachers could have for other things if we send our kids ready to learn new material instead of reviewing and re-learning . My kids and I brainstormed fun, silly and educational ideas for summer reading and came up with this bucket list. Follow the links to book recommendations .
- Read in a tent.
- Read a book about wild animals.
- Read a book in the bath.
- Read a book under a tree.
- Read a book about a city far away.
- Read at dinner.
- Read a magazine.
- Read as a family.
- Read a book about your country.
- Read in a blanket fort.
- Read a book about friendship.
- Read a comic book.
- Read at the park.
- Read a magazine.
- Read a book about art.
- Read a book that makes your laugh.
- Read a book with a flashlight.
- Read a book to a pet.
- Read at the beach.
- Read a book about space.
- Read a book in a funny accent.
- Read a book while having ice cream.
- Read a book then act it out.
- Read a book and capture it on video.
- Read a biography.
- Read a book with chapters.
- Read a book about bugs.
- Read a book without any words.
- Read an alphabet book.
- Read a pop up book
- Read at breakfast.
- Read a book you wrote yourself.
- Read an ebook .
- Read all summer long.
As you know together with Amy Mascott I write all about family literacy for Scholastic Parent’s Raise A Reader blog . On Monday night we will be taking over Scholastic Parent’s Facebook page for a great kick off of their Scholastic Summer Challenge. This year is set to be the best yet and Amy and I will be answering questions to get you and your family ready for a summer filled with reading. Do not miss it!
Getting my son learning after school isn’t always easy because he’s just been at school all day! This rhyming game was originally supposed to be a Frisbee like game with the hula hoops acting as targets but my dollar store plates were too light and even doubled up wouldn’t fly well. So we turned it into a hunt and my daughter came along for the ride and everyone had fun . You could adapt this easily for different levels using upper and lowercase as pairs to match, sight words ( writing out two and finding the match) or word families. Even though my almost 3 year old participated this activity is part of our Learning After School series . This series is filled with ideas for fun active learning after school gets out.
- Gather your materials. You will need some cheap plastic plates ( just don’t expect them to be good Frisbee… ) , a sharpie and some hula hoops.
- Start by writing some words on the plates. I chose 4 words that offered lots of rhyming words. Bake, car, band and hat.
- Write out many rhyming words for each as you think will challenge your kids just the right amount. You can always have a few extra on hand to hide on the go if your kids are into it and the end is near.
- Place the anchor words ( bake, car, band and hat) in the hula hoops.
- Hide the other plates.
- Get your kids ready – I had my son agree that he’d let his sister find her share and not zoom through and grab them all . He also offered up his reading and rhyming skills to help. I wasn’t sure how it would play out … if you are doing this with a number of children with similar rhyming and reading abilities a great way to do it is to start each child off with a different word and have them search only for words that rhyme with their word. * Whenever I am explaining rules I start with a quick game of Simon Says. It gets them focused.
- It was great. He needed a reminder not to grab all the plates but one reminder was enough. They would find a plate, run over and match the rhymes. She got a few solo and he would do his in his head throwing them down fast. But then when she was stumped he took time to help his sister saying things like ” Do you hear they sound the same? Cake and bake rhyme.” It was still pretty much over her head but he got great practice being patient and teaching her. You can see him stretching out the words for her as a hint. Best part is the plates store easily and you can add more when you want to play again.
Books That Rhyme
Here are 25 great books that rhyme . When reading these books with your kids take some time to play with the rhymes , not every single on but a few. Be silly and have fun. Do things like use a synonym in the place of a rhyming word in the familiar text. When your child corrects you explain that the word means the same thing. They will insit it’s still not right . Ask them why. Continue reading. Pretending not to know the answer and letting my kids answer for me always gets a good laugh and the lesson sticks as well.
by Allison McDonald Learning to read is not a crash course that kids take and are done with once they can read Dick and Jane without any help. Learning to read is developmental and starts when a newborn looks at you and hears you talking to them. Below are 50 pieces to the reading puzzle . 50 ways that you and your child can have fun knowing that they are working on early literacy development and learning to love books. This is not definitive checklist it’s a buffet of options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. Find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development. Click through the linked items for more details and how to do the activity with your child.
- Read to your child.
- Play rhyming games.
- Sing the alphabet song with them.
- Label things with their names from an early age.
- Go to the library even when they are at that loud voice only stage.
- Have non fiction books as well as fiction available .
- Tell stories.
- Have books all over your house.
- Teach the letter sounds by emphasizing the sounds in words they hear often from a young age.
- Provide fun and interesting books for them to read.
- Get a magazine subscription and read it together.
- Make play dough letters.
- Play the alphabet game on road trips.
- Read the mail together.
- Make a reading nook.
- Clap out syllables.
- Make letter crafts.
- Make reading play time .
- Notice letters in the environment.
- Learn about how books work and other concepts of print.
- Let them choose their own books at the library or bookstore.
- Leave them notes in their lunchboxes .
- Play with foam letters in the bath. Use bath toys to make up and tell stories.
- Make your own books.
- Play eye spy with letters and letter sounds. ” I spy something that starts with the letter B. Buh buh book!”
- Give your children books as gifts.
- Make up silly songs together.
- Ask them to read the pictures to you before they can read the words.
- Play library.
- Read the book then see the movie for a family treat.
- Play with word families.
- Read books with no words and share storytelling duties.
- Let them see you reading for fun.
- Read nursery rhymes.
- Explore and trace tactile letters.
- Play listening games.
- Retell and have your children retell stories after reading them.
- Ask your child questions about elements of the story as you read with them. This works on comprehension.
- Read books at lunchtime .
- Take books with you when you travel.
- Build with letter blocks or make your own.
- Do word searches.
- Play sight word games.
- Download an e-reader app on your smartphone and instead of handing them it to play a game make it a treat to use it to read.
- Read comics with them.
- Talk your your kids using regular words not “kiddie” words.
- Read them poetry.
- Get their bodies moving to learn letters.
- Read them their favorite book over and over and over even if it’s making you want to poke your eyes out.
- Make reading part of their bedtime routine from day one.
Getting kids to learn after school can be hard. Bribery, delayed rewards even punishment seems futile because we want them to WANT to learn. Making it a game or using some novel tools for learning are my son’s favorite ways to learn after school. These little slimy snakes are favorites around here . I find them all over the playroom so I decided to use them for a quick lesson in long and short vowel sounds. Learning to distinguish these sounds is an important skill for reading and spelling. Have fun with learning after school activities and remember that these aren’t in place of homework they are in addition to. Use them as you see fit . My kindergartner usually does 2-3 a week and they are all pretty quick lasting between 5-15 minutes.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, scissors and plastic snakes you can cut. **If you don’t have access to these try gummy worm candies, ribbon, or yarn.
- Start by writing out pages of simple words with long and short vowel sounds . Remember that long vowels say their name (o- open , a-grape, i- bite) . I would work on one letter at a time.
- Invite your word detective to the table and ask him or her to help you cut some of the snakes into short pieces . My son thought I was joking ad was excited to be doing something destructive. Is it a boy thing?
- Use the short pieces to indicate a short vowel sound and a full snake for the long vowel sounds. He was pretty into it. It was sorta silly but that worked in our favor because he loved it. The combination of a concrete object to show a concept that is not concrete can really help some kids grasp these tasks better than just saying words and having them listen and decide.
- You can see how he was sounding the words out as he read them. Teach your child to read the words slowly exaggerating the vowel sound. He liked to stretch the sound the same time he stretched the snake. Make multiple sheets but don’t worry if they want to work on them one or two at a time.
- Clearly he was having too much fun to be learning! At least that is what he thought.
No parent intentionally tries to discourage their child from reading. But sometimes our actions do just that. Kids may be resilient, but they are also really sensitive, and how we handle reading in our homes can work for or against our kids’ reading attitude. Once a child writes reading off, it’s much harder to reel them back in and get them to give it a second shot. Here are eight things to avoid .
1. Don’t put down your child’s reading materials. Comics and books with crude humor often get dragged through the mud, as do character-driven books. Their choices may not be your favorite, but when you say no to a book, what your child may hear is no to reading. Instead of banning their beloved reading material , find a way to add in some more desirable books into the mix.
2. Don’t provide the wrong level material. No one likes reading something that makes them feel stupid. If the books are too hard they will frustrate your child. If the books are too easy, they will bore your little reader. You don’t need to know your child’s exact level; their interest will let you know. Go to the bookstore or library when you have a chunk of time and let them explore. Take out a bunch of books and try them out. Find favorite authors and read everything they’ve written, then start again with a new author.
3. Don’t use reading as a punishment. Saying things like “Go to your bedroom and read!” or “If you do that again, I will make you go read.” sets kids up to associate reading as a negative thing. Keep punishments and reading separate.
4. Don’t forget to give your child books as a gifts. Gifts are special, and starting at birth books make the best gifts – especially if you read them with the person who gave them to you. Book fairs at schools are a great place for kids to get excited about books, and we use them as treats!
5. Don’t explain to your child they aren’t really reading yet when they are only looking at the pictures. If we tell our children they aren’t readers, they will believe it, and to a child this isn’t as fluid as it is for adults. They don’t see that reading is developmental, and this blow to their confidence can really stick with them. If they aren’t decoding words yet, let them know that they can “read the pictures” and tell the story that way until they can read the words too.
6. Don’t forget to let your kids see you read for fun. Studies show that kids with parents who read often for pleasure are more likely to read for fun themselves. So if you want a kid who loves to read, let them see you reading too.
7. Don’t over-correct and over-practice. It’s exciting when your child starts to read independently, but forcing them to read and reread text until they have it perfect is not the most effective way to encourage or instruct. Read with your new reader and help when they ask for it. If they miss a word but the meaning is intact, don’t interrupt. If the meaning of the sentence is all screwy, wait for a natural pause and ask them, “Did that make sense?” You can revisit the word if it didn’t. Use the pictures and the rest of the text as clues if the word is too tough to decode. If you have to do this often, the text is too hard for your child. Choose something easier, or if they are insistent take turns reading so there is some fluency being modeled.
8. Don’t forget to read to your kids. Every day. Even those days when you just want them to go to sleep already!!
Check out Scholastic Parents Raise a Reader blog for more simple ways to bring literacy into your family. Together with Amy from Teachmama.com I share with readers tips, tricks and tried and true ways to Raise a Reader.