Summer break is finally here! Although our kids deserve a vacation from the daily homework load – we don’t want to completely let their reading skills slip during this summer vacation. Here is a very family-friendly list of activities you can try at home this summer with your kids to keep the reading skills sharp and active in those kiddies:
- Cook with your kids. Cooking is a great way for the family to spend fun and educational time together. Reading food labels and recipes can help your children improve their reading skills and learn the meanings of unfamiliar words. You can also work up an appetite by reading a story about food. Then make and eat the food you read about.
- Listen to audio books in the car while traveling. Spending time listening to books strengthens listening, concentration and imagination skills in children. It also gives them an opportunity to improve vocabulary and language skills. Take your child’s iPod along on car trips or while you are running errands during the summer break.
- Take your child grocery shopping. Let your child carry the shopping list as you shop. They can read off the items you need. Label reading is also a great reading task for a child. You can have them look up the ingredients on the labels or ask them to research which breakfast cereal has the least amount of sugar in it.
- Play board games. Here is your opportunity to expand your child’s mind while also having fun and spending time together. Games like Scrabble, Boggle and other word games are great for challenging the minds of kids. Some games require reading for clues or reading directions.
- Read about your vacation destination before you go. Have your child read about your travel spots ahead of time and help plan the trip for you. If you go camping, explore the wildlife and scenery on-line.
- Pick your favorite author. Try to read all the books by a favorite author and list them on a chart. Then write a letter to the author. Most authors have their own websites with contact information, book titles, games and more.
- Visit a museum or zoo. There will be lots and lots of signs and descriptions to read which will encourage non-fiction reading vocabulary.
- Go to the library. Access all those wonderful library resources, including reading incentive programs and opportunities for volunteer work for older children.
- Plant a vegetable garden. Read books together about gardening. Read directions to plant seeds. Children can research online for growing tips and learning how to take care of their vegetables.
- Campfire Stories. Set up a tent in the backyard and have your children take turns reading campfire stories. Pick out some fun scary mysteries and don’t forget the s’mores.
- Don’t watch TV – read it! If it is available, have your child watch close captioned TV with the sound off. Not only builds reading skills but also builds empathy for those who are hearing impaired.
- Keep a summer scrapbook. Tape in souvenirs of your family’s summer activities such as pictures, ticket stubs, photos, etc. The kids can write captions and read them aloud as you look at the book together.
Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder and Director of PRIDE Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist. Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can visit the Pride Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com