Here are some ideas for keeping your excited new reader engaged in the exploration of even more reading this summer:
1) Hang up that hammock on the porch or create a cozy nook just for your children and be sure to call it ‘the reading corner’. Set up a basket of paperback readers, children’s magazines, or pictures of great places and things (in various magazines like National Geographic). Encourage quiet thinking and reading time there. Keep crayons, pencils, colored pencils, markers nearby, along with blank drawing pads to encourage inspired moments.
2) In the same vicinity, keep magazines and scissors, glue sticks, and paper in a basket, ready for book writing a la the Ziff Technique. Or just to create an envelope of favorite or loved words.
3) Read examples of children’s journals or diaries and encourage your child to keep one of his/her own on their private ideas and thoughts. You can get nice, inexpensive ones at a stationary or book store.
4) Go to the library on a regular basis. Schedule in a twice -a -month library visit and spend time there reading interesting books and old favorites out loud, as well as checking out leveled readers (Ask the librarian for help). Try to encourage participation in the library’s summer reading programs such as reading contests and story hours.
5) Write letters to favorite friends, relatives, and others on cards or paper that is illustrated or rendered by your child. Then send them via snail mail. Your family will love receiving them!
6) Show your child the amazing aspects of the life cycle with all its wonder in various natural settings. It can be as simple as digging in your front yard for worms! Talk about all of this ‘science’ and then have your child write down his/her findings, observations, or future aspirations.
7) Teach your child to use a keyboard on a computer with one of the many typing programs available online. They’re fun and very helpful. Ditto for reading and math games-just do a search on Google-though we recommend limited time spent on the computer playing games, even if they’re educational.
8) Practice mental math with your child, whenever you’ve got some ‘down time’. Think of all the ways you can make the number 10-by adding or subtracting. Use pennies or beans (chocolate or jelly beans). It’s not exactly reading, but it helps the brain ‘get ready’ for more visual processing (and ultimately that means more reading)!
9) Play board games like Candyland and Scrabble or card games to reinforce visual processing.
Practicing during the summer is important so your child won’t forget all the hard earned skills he/she gained in the past year. We wanted to suggest these ideas to you, because we know how easy it is to slip into not using those newly formed reading skills, becoming rusty. Take them as jumping off points and add your own creative takes on them. If you make the reading activities FUN, your child will surely benefit!