Road trips. A sunny day. The fair. A rainy day. The beach. These are all staples of summer, but they’re all also opportunities to enhance a child’s early literacy skills.
While school is officially out for summer, it is imperative that families work to keep their children’s minds as active as their bodies. And, it doesn’t have to be hard! Reading and learning can - and should - be fun!
Racine Unified School District Reading Specialist Maggie Morgan has three simple steps for families to follow in order to avoid that dreaded summer slide and have a successful return to school this fall.
Step 1: Keep Reading
Students have worked very hard to reach the level of reading they are at by the end of the school year. Keep it up! Parents can make it extra fun for their students by signing up for the Racine Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge. Students simply sign up online, log their reading and earn badges and prizes along the way.
In addition, the library is a great place to refresh your stock of books to keep things fresh. An important part of raising readers is having a wide variety of books available to them and the ability for them to pick out options that appeal to them. Racine Unified students also have access to virtual books through the Sora App that they can access in ClassLink.
If your child isn’t reading independently yet, just make sure you keep reading with them. Reading aloud to a child is one of the best things a person can do to establish a love for reading. As you read to children, you can point out letters, words and even discuss the pictures. All of these small, simple actions go a long way in developing early literacy skills.
Step 2: Explore Outside
This one is really easy because it’s already built into summer! When you visit local attractions like the Racine Zoo or Riverbend Nature Center, talk with your child about what they see and what you are doing. You can even practice this when you are at the grocery store, cooking dinner or just out for a walk. This will help improve their reading comprehension by boosting background knowledge, oral language skills and vocabulary. Parents can also ask children to describe events in their lives. Giving detailed descriptions and telling complete stories helps children learn about story structure.
Step 3: Play!
Play is a very important part of children’s learning and development and children don’t even realize it. Playing board games is a great way to boost social skills with children and some board games even allow children to practice math or reading skills too. You can encourage children to practice their storytelling skills through pretend play and dress up. Even building with Lego and Play-Doh help build fine motor skills.
Whether you are raising a pre-reader, letter learner, sounder and speller or independent reader, be sure to check out Raising Readers. The online hub of reading resources features read alouds, tip sheets, at-home activities, places to find free books and so much more. The Raising Readers hub can be found at rusd.org/raisingreaders.