As we transition into summer, most students have to read books as a requirement for their next grade level. Many students are happy to do this assignment, perhaps already having read the required and optional books listed. However, there are many students who dread this task and view it as a burden. These students may have a difficult time with choosing the optional book(s) to read, unsure whether they can read about a subject in which they might have little interest. For a student with dyslexia, language processing deficits, or attention challenges, reading a book can seem a daunting endeavor.
There are many very good and helpful articles available on the internet which can guide parents through encouraging their children to read and to become better readers. One website which is most helpful is: www.ldonline.org.
Here are some general suggestions which will help to increase a child’s reading that we employ and have found successful:
Grades K – 3
- Pick subjects that interest your child/children.
- Set aside time daily for reading.
- By reading aloud to your child/ren you are modeling reading.
- Have your child read aloud to you. Help to decode words.
- Help to make word meanings easy to figure out.
- Discuss what was read.
- In grades 2 and 3, for some students, even a paragraph can seem too much. Take turns reading one line at a time.
- Ask specific questions about what was read. Ask questions about what might happen next. This helps your child up to be an active reader.
Grades 4 – 7
- Help pick subjects that are interesting to your child.
- Most students at these grades are required to read at least 30 minutes per day. Try to find another time during the day for your student to read for an additional 5 to 10 minutes aloud to you a few times per week.
- For some students, reading aloud helps to reinforce comprehension. Have your child read aloud.
- If listening to a recording of the book increases comprehension, then finding whether the books are available on Audiobooks.com, Audible.com, Learning Ally.org is recommended.
- Often reading along with listening to the book read helps students with dyslexia increase comprehension.
- In order for the student to continue to be an active reader, encourage him/her to underline, highlight, and write notes in the margins of the book. Often the next year’s teacher has specified what to note in the reading. Annotation is an important skill to learn.
- It is important for parents to ask questions about what your student is reading. Ask for specifics: details, who are the main characters, what do they look like, their ages, what are they doing, where are they located, what might happen, etc.
Grades 8 – 12
- Before reading, check Sparknotes.com, Cliffnotes.com, or Shmoop.com for an overview of the book(s) to read. These sites include plot summaries, character analyses, chapter analyses, explanation of motifs, symbolisms, and historical context to name a few.
- Finding book(s) on Audiobooks.com, Audible.com, or Learning Ally.org is recommended when needed.
- Many classics, which high school students are required to read have been made into movies. Movie adaptions attempt to be true to the books from which they are based. Watching the movie adaptation can help to increase overall understanding of the book.
- Students should practice active reading by annotating. Underlining, writing notes in the margins, and highlighting important characters references, new vocabulary, symbolism, interesting passages, and any other key information that might be important to note.
Enjoy the summer reading!