Summer activities for the struggling reader

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If you have a struggling reader in your family and are planning on using the summer to improve his or her reading skills, here are some tips for making your summer educational goals work for both you and your child.

Here are some tips for implementing summer activities for the struggling reader.


1.       Do the hard stuff early in the day

Try and get the work that demands attention to detail (and generally tedious) done early in the morning, so it is over and your child feels free for the rest of the day.

2.       Create a list of skills you want to teach

Have a list of skills that you want to teach. For example, you might want to teach spelling, answering questions, reading a certain number of paragraphs.

3.       Give your child a sense of control

Set things up so that child feels a sense of control. For example, say to your child, “We have X# of activities to cover this summer. Each day we have to do at least 3 (or whatever number you choose.) Look at the list and you decide which ones we will do today. But there is a rule: you can’t just stick to the same ones each day. Each day at least one (or two) of the activities have to be different from the previous day.”

4.       If possible, work with your child’s curriculum for the coming year.

If you can get your child’s curriculum for the coming year, (for example, in social studies they are going to be studying Columbus or the American Revolution, or in science the solar system).

Then, get movies on the topic or relevant to the topic and sit with your child and watch and discuss the movie. This gives your child a leg up in knowing the material, which helps your child when he or she has to read about that material later on. http://www.teachwithmovies.org/ and http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/school/curriculum/chart.asp are some sites that offer lists of films that may prove useful.

5.       Do writing activities

Writing is often the most difficult of activities for a struggling reader, so set up a few relevant writing activities (for example, describing a trip, summarizing a scene in a film, doing a weather report) and have your child DICTATE the message about the activity. You write it down, indicating corrections if they are necessary and then have your child copy what you have written. Have the copying be done so that it involves memory (e.g., look at 2-3 words, cover—then write etc. etc.) This gives practice in many aspects of writing (creating the message, spelling, punctuation etc.) while breaking it apart into more manageable segments.

6.       Consider a keyboarding program

If your child is over 8, consider a keyboarding program that teaches touch typing. They can be fun and if child can become smooth and fast in the mechanics of writing, then his or her attention can be directed to the content and reading and writing. There are lots of free programs on the internet and you can also ask your child’s teacher for recommendations.

Reading Kingdom is a fun and easy online program that effectively teaches kids to read and write. It contains numerous reading strategies for struggling readers. Using patented teaching methods, elementary reading strategies and interactive reading games, children will discover the joy of reading! Sign up for a 30 day free trial today.