Summer. Just the word conjures visions of vacations, long lazy afternoons and days spent at play. But while we all enjoy the respite provided by the fleeting summer months, it’s not a secret that those weeks without school often lead to a lag in learning. Known as the summer slide or the summer learning loss, this phenomenon impacts children with a loss of between 17 to 34 percent of the previous school year’s learning.
Completely counteracting that learning loss can be complicated, but there are things parents can do to help. Here are 9 summertime reading strategies for struggling readers.
Make reading fun: It’s important that we don’t take the fun out of summer – or out of reading. During the summer, find books and other reading material that motivates your struggling reader, even if that material isn’t particularly challenging. That may include graphic novels, the directions for a game or other non-traditional reading opportunities.
Keep up with online programs: Online dyslexia programs like Dyslexia on Demand continue to operate and offer support for struggling readers during the summer. The most effective way to help your child is with an evidence-based dyslexia therapy program that uses Certified Academic Language Therapists to help neurodiverse children overcome the challenges presented by dyslexia. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help not only offset the summer slide, but also help your child catch up with their neurotypical peers.
Model reading: Summer is a good time to catch up on your own pile of books to be read. While you’re at it, you’ll be showing the struggling readers in your life that reading is a fun, enjoyable activity that is worth setting aside time for.
Set realistic goals: As much as you may want it to happen, your struggling reader is not going to transform overnight. Setting realistic goals for progress will keep the tears and tantrums at a minimum – for you and your child.
Have a routine: Let’s face it, most of our routines go out the window as soon as school lets out. While that’s part of the allure of summer vacation, having a reading routine will help ensure that the summer slide is minimized.
Multi-sensory reading: Struggling readers – particularly those with dyslexia – benefit from engaging more than one sense in the reading journey. Audio books in particular help transform reading from a struggle to a joy.
Read aloud together: Spending time reading to your child is one of the best summertime reading strategies for struggling readers – and all it takes is 20 minutes a day to see long-term benefits. Reading aloud increases children’s receptive vocabulary and comprehension and can also help with attention span. You can increase the benefits by using this opportunity to work on comprehension strategies and letting your child follow along as you read. The benefits of reading aloud to your child go far beyond reading skills – that time together also promotes bonding and builds family connections.
Get the pets involved: Our pets love us no matter what – and that non-judgmental love can be helpful when encouraging a struggling reader to read aloud. We’ve all seen the heart-warming stories of kids reading to dogs in animal shelters – there’s no reason not to adapt that to your own home and your own pets.
Tech is your friend: During the school year, several technology solutions are available for struggling readers. This assistive technology can be used at home as well. Whether that’s audio books or text-to-speech software, explore the options available and don’t hesitate to incorporate them into your strategies to beat the summer slide.
For more information on developing a structured approach to helping your child overcome dyslexia, click here to schedule a consultation with Dyslexia on Demand.