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Summer Learning Loss, Part 3.

Posted on: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Last week we suggested a trip to the library to help stop the summer learning slide.  But what happens when you get to the library and your children selects books that they are not able to read? 
 
When it comes to selecting a book most kids know what they want to read.  Just like the grownups in their lives, they may ask friends, browse at the library or book store, or even go on line for ideas.  Empowering your children by involving them in the process of selecting their own reading material is top on READS list for tips parents need to help with reading.
 
Since parents are the ultimate teachers they must however guide their kids carefully, albeit subtlety, while establishing ways to help their child to read and develop a love for the printed word.  As we promised in last week’s blog today we are offering a few tips for the ultimate reading helper.

 How to Select the Right Books and Reading Material

  • Help your child create their summer reading list.  During the school year, children are often assigned books that they must read – let summer reading be a time for them to read about topics that interest them.  When children select their own books they are more highly motivated to read them.
  • Offer a limited selection of books that may be recommended by the bookstore, library, or reading website (ours can be found throughout our Blogs, but allow the choice to be made by your child.
  • In some cases, children will choose books that are too challenging for them.  In that case, use the Five Finger Rule.  Open the book to a random page and have your child begin reading.  Every time a word is missed, one finger goes up.  If all five fingers are up before the end of the page is reached then it’s time to select another book for independent reading.  However, be sure to include that book as a shared read.

Get Involved and Ask Questions

True reading is defined as the ability to attach meaning to the printed word – simply saying the words out loud does not ensure comprehension.  It is vital to a successful summer reading program that your child truly understands what they are reading.  The best way to check for comprehension is by asking meaningful questions.  This also promotes conversation between you and your child and helps your child to build their verbal communication skills.

An effective guide to asking meaningful questions is: Can my question be answered in one word?  If the answer is yes, you may want to think of a more challenging question or add to the original question.  For instance, many parents defer to, “Did you like the book?” or “Who was your favorite character?”  These questions frequently generate a one or two word response.  Such short answers don’t demonstrate comprehension.

Instead, before reading begins, decide what questions will be answered after reading time is completed.  This sets a focus and a purpose.  Think of a two-part question that challenges your child to explain an answer in depth.  Ask instead, “Who was your favorite character and explain why using an example from the story?”

Busy parents and kids need time to take it easy, and balancing all the demands of modern life is not an easy job in today’s world.  Spending time with your family by reading books, sharing information, and talking together creates a special time for you and your family.  A successful summer reading program will enhance you and your child’s summer, not take away from it.  All of these will lead your child to become an independent thinker and learner – the goal for the ultimate teachers.

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This entry was posted in Activities for kids, Conversations with kids, Critical Thinking Skills, Family Activities, Library, parent involvement, Reading with kids, Summer Activities for Kids. Bookmark the permalink.

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