Springfield Public Schools - Home

Dubois Elementary School

120 South Lincoln Ave
Springfield, IL 62704

Retain And Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills Over Summer Vacation

April 15, 2013

Without working with your child, reading skills can slip over the summer months, especially in elementary school children. Learn how to retain and even improve your child’s reading skills over the summer without spending money on tutors or reading programs.

Summer often comes as a welcomed break from the sometimes stressful and disciplined school schedule for both parents and children. But while all kids need a break from the rigors of the organized classroom, it is important that children retain and even build on what they learned during the traditional school year. Wonderfully, summer vacation can be much more than an opportunity to work one-on-one with your child on his or her reading skills, it can be a chance to teach your child the many joys of recreational reading.

Here are tips on how to cultivate summer reading in your children while building lifelong reading skills and reading habits:

Let your children choose the subject matter, if not the material itself. Your child will read more and build more reading skills if they are reading books and magazines that speak to their interests and don’t forget that they are on vacation. You will find that there is quality writing about most any subject that interests children, and that your child will thank you for finding it. Look for biographies of sports greats for your athlete who doesn’t like to read. Look for novelizations of video games for your child who can’t stay away from his Xbox.

Plan an activity around a book. If your child is looking forward to a big summer movie release, have the family read the book the movie was based on. If you have already planned a vacation, pick a summer book that takes place in the geographical area where you are headed. If your child is taking swimming lessons, find reading material that supports and builds on his/her new pastime.

Pick a challenging summer book to read together. Your child is never too old to read to, and as they get older, family members can take turns with the book. Choosing a classic book to read with your child over the summer can bring you closer and serve as another example of reading for recreation. Reading aloud to your children also gives you an opportunity to choose a slightly more challenging book than one they could read by themselves.

Introduce a variety of reading materials. Don’t limit your children to books fill your summer with reading the newspaper, magazines, comics, and essays. Seek out a few quality blogs or internet sites that are appropriate for your young reader. If you’re at a museum, read the informative plaques. If you’re at a restaurant, read the menu together.

Visit your local library. Libraries are much more than a source of free books. Especially during the summer, libraries may have weekly activities, summer-long reading challenges, summer reading lists, and even youth book clubs. Library visits can also add structure to long summer days.

Set a good example of a recreational reader. Teach reading by example. If you are enjoying a good book on the beach, or listen to a book on tape in the car, your child will associate reading with fun, relaxation, and leisure. Talk to your children about the books you are reading.

Bring books along. Summer can be filled with an endless string of activities for the family but those activities also include downtime. Tote a bag of books with you or keep a few in the car so that you can squeeze reading in even when you are on the go.

Article Provided by: Carlis Thomas, Parent Educator
Written by Elliott Shostak