It’s summer and that means it’s time for family vacations, backyard barbecues, and for many students, a break from school. But even if students aren’t in the classroom, there are plenty of ways to encourage young learners to keep up their skills, especially when it comes to reading. Many students may view summer reading as a chore, but children can lose valuable language skills over the summer if they don’t practice reading over the break. For all students and especially dyslexic students, it is essential to continue reading over the summer and developing the reading skills they practice during the school year. Here are some tips that can help inspire summer reading in dyslexic students.
Find books that excite your student.
When students view reading as a challenging and uninteresting activity, it’s easy to understand why they would much rather watch their favorite show instead. Help your student find books that align with their interests and a story plot that excites them so they can practice the skills they have worked so hard on during the school year, whether you sign up for a book subscription service from an independent bookstore or explore your nearest public library. If a dyslexic child loves playing a particular sport, learning about a specific period in history, or exploring a certain scientific topic, encourage them to find books that nurture that interest. With numerous dyslexia resources available to help students find books they love, your little reader will be well on their way to turning reading into a habit rather than a chore.
Let them develop their own summer reading schedule.
Children often react very differently when a parent or teacher tells them to do something compared to when they make a decision on their own. When age-appropriate, encourage growing readers to develop their independence by allowing them to create their own summer reading schedule. While beginner readers should read around 20 minutes each day, leave the rest up to your student. Let your reader decide on the time of day and environment they would read best–whether it’s at the table first thing in the morning, outside in the afternoon, or in their bed before they go to sleep! If your child is intimidated or uninterested in having a daily scheduled time to read, encourage them to practice their reading skills in everyday actions. Whether it is reading street signs or billboards on a walk, flipping through a comic book, or having their favorite book ready to read on a smartphone or tablet, continuing to practice reading skills in some way over the summer is essential.
Celebrate the completion of a book.
There’s nothing that motivates children more than a rewards system. Whether it’s chores or homework, initiating a rewards system can help children get more excited about necessary tasks, including summer reading. For dyslexic students, reading can be a challenge, and it should be celebrated when they complete a book at home. Host a themed family dinner based on the book they read or watch a movie adaptation of the book complete with popcorn and treats to get the whole family involved and excited about summer reading. Or with the help of new technology, take a virtual field trip to explore the real-life setting of a book and track a character’s journey with Google Earth. Celebrating the wins with fun activities can inspire dyslexic learners to continue reading even though it can be a challenge.
Lead by example.
Whether parents realize it or not, children are always watching and observing their behavior. If a young reader has never seen their parents read a book for pleasure, it will be that much more challenging for them to develop the habit. Thankfully, summer reading can be a family activity! Reading a chapter of a book out loud together, taking a family trip to the library to browse for books, or joining an online book club with friends and other family members can all serve as examples that reading for pleasure can be fun.
While reading might not be the first thing on your child’s mind this summer, the skills that dyslexic students can practice with summer reading are invaluable to their development as a reader. Follow these tips to make summer reading fun!
ReadSource is here to provide information and guidance to help parents and teachers encourage dyslexic learners as they master essential reading and language skills. Our educational training, dyslexia resources, and community involvement opportunities help parents, teachers, and tutors become better equipped to serve the dyslexic community. Learn more about ReadSource today!
This blog was written with contributions from Kerri Saulnier.