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Summer Learning | Teaching Strategies | May 13, 2024

How to Collaborate to Help Kids Read This Summer

One of the biggest concerns that educators and parents have in the summertime relates to how they can help children during their summer breaks. This article offers some simple ways teachers, administrators, and parents can work together to help kids read this summer and to avoid the dreaded “summer reading slide.”

Reading to Avoid Summer Slide

In my work with scores of parents and educators, I have fielded many questions. A recurring question relates to how they can help children during their summer breaks. Remember, it’s the simple things that tend to work best. When teachers, administrators, and parents work together, there is no stopping children’s success.

The Importance of Parents

Let’s face it: parents matter. Summer vacation can cause havoc for many working parents’ schedules. Schools need to do everything they can to help parents help their children. In order to ensure children stay excited about reading (or even discover their reading excitement for the first time), it is critical that school teachers and administrators do their best to encourage parents to talk with their children, to surround them with interesting reading materials, and to model good reading habits. When families follow these simple tips, children are more likely to perform better in school and to become avid readers.

TCM_HowToCollaborateToHelpChildrenReadThisSummer-650x520-2-1Ways to Help Kids Read this Summer

There are a variety of ways to encourage children to read this summer vacation. The most critical way to support children and families is by becoming partners with parents. Encouraging parents to read with their children and equipping them with the strategies outlined below will help kids read. Here are some of the best techniques to share if you’d like children to return to school in the fall feeling excited and empowered.

Talk a Lot

Encourage parents to talk a lot with their children.  A large body of research shows that students who come from homes where a lot of talking takes place perform significantly higher at school than students who live in home environments where less talking takes place. Interestingly, it does not matter what language is being spoken at home; all that matters is a lot of language is being spoken. So, one of the best ways parents can aid their children’s language development is to speak with their children as often as possible. If parents want to help kids read, it is recommended they talk about what they are reading and like to read.

Provide Reading Opportunities

Make sure kids are surrounded by interesting reading materials. People who read more, read better. This is clearly demonstrated in numerous studies. A great way to help kids read and improve children’s reading aptitudes and attitudes this summer is to provide many opportunities for children to read books, magazines, and other materials that may interest them. Schools can distribute information to parents that informs them about public library or local bookstore offerings and events. In fact, many public libraries and bookstores offer summer reading programs. And for those teachers and administrators who really want to be pro-active, why not allow families to check out books from the school library over the summer break?

Get Outside

Schools should encourage families to go on outings during the summer break. You don’t have to be rich to experience a wealth of learning opportunities. Play outdoors or take a nature walk as a family. Trips to area museums, parks, and free summer concerts are just a few of the offerings most municipalities offer in the summer. Who knows? One of these outings may spark children’s interest in a particular subject, leading them to read and write about it further.

Read Aloud

Encourage parents to read aloud to their children often and in front of their children. Since parents are their children’s greatest role models, one great way to help kids read and ensure their success this summer is to encourage nightly read-aloud rituals, and by all means parents should read in front of their children. Summer should be a lot more relaxed than the school year, so families can read with flashlights in tents under the stars in their backyards, haul a bunch of reading materials to the beach or pool, and play games in the car together on family outings like pointing to signs and reading from the print-rich environment around them.

Collaboration among teachers, administrators, and parents during the summer months can help kids read all summer and can thus avoid the effects of summer learning loss. Before the end of the school year, administrators and teachers can communicate effective summertime strategies to enlist parents as partners in this effort.

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Author Bio:

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Timothy Rasinski, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Literary Education, Kent State University

Dr. Timothy Rasinski is a professor emeritus of literary education at Kent State University and was previously director of its award-winning reading clinic. Dr. Rasinski is the author of numerous best-selling books, articles, and curriculum programs on literacy education and has co-authored many resources for Shell Education including, but not limited to, Greek & Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary, Starting with Prefixes and Suffixes, Practice with Prefixes, Vocabulary Ladders:...

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