Beat the Summer Slump: 3 Activities to Help Your Child Read This Coming School Year

Summer is a time of family bonding, celebration, and losing hard-won progress in school. But it doesn’t have to be! Establish summer-fun traditions and routines that help your new reader gain ground instead of losing it. Do some family bonding while reading!

  • Shared Reading.

Pick a book that will interest your child at a reading level they can keep up with, and as you read, enlist their “help” by having them track the text with their finger. Then, stop, and let them take a turn reading to you. Switch back and forth. If a word is difficult, tell them the word and write it down. You can include it in a game later.

This “shared reading” builds fluency and confidence with the written word and helps make time reading together constructive and enjoyable. 

  • Create a movement game.

Children learn better when their bodies, as well as their minds, are engaged. To practice new words and letter patterns, print words in big letters on sheets of paper. Then make a game where your child jumps to the word, or throws a bean bag onto the word as you call it out. Take the time to practice that word in a multi-sensory manner, sounding it out as you trace the letters that stand for each sound or, for words that don’t follow phonics rules, clapping as you spell it.

  • Celebrate progress in a big, visual way.

Create a large chart of the words your child has learned, decorated with pictures of their favorite superhero, cartoon or sports figure. Make a bar graph of how many books you’ve read together. Create a paper-chain with new words, so together you can watch progress as the snake moves across the house all summer long.

Do something so your child can see, in a big, visual way their progress toward becoming a stronger reader. Big, visual reminders are great for pulling in the whole family, and for reminding you that it’s time to read!

Summer never has to be a slump for your reader. If you need more support in helping your child catch up with their peers or pull ahead of the pack this summer, contact Advantage Tutoring. With more than 20 years experience creating effective home learning programs, we’re confident that together we can design a system that empowers your learner to finish this summer stronger than they started.

Cathy Pelzmann is a certified reading specialist with a Master’s degree in Special Education. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education and she has completed additional graduate work in teaching reading.