Previously I shared that having your child read over summer break is vital to maintaining their aptitude level. Unfortunately reading is not the same as understanding; and too often the emphasis is placed on getting through as many books as possible, which can result in merely skimming them without the benefits of expanding vocabulary or focusing on correct spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
Furthermore, cognitive science and learning research shows that “deep learning” requires gaining new information that can be connected to our own lives, which means reading comprehension is a must.
The best tool for developing this important skill is through the use of a Reflective Response Journal, which can be in the form of a composition book, legal pad, spiral notebook, or a computer document. The purpose of the journal is to foster an active, rather than passive, reader; and this exercise can be scaled to suit the age and reading level of your child.
The reflection exercise consists of responding to questions that prompt your child to explore his or her impressions and develop genuine thoughts and opinions. In other words, it serves to build valuable metacognitive skills. Therefore, entries go beyond superficial book reports, which only regurgitate the plot of the story.
Ideally, the journal entries should consist of well-formed and thoughtful responses to the types of questions listed below.
So, get your child started with using a Reflective Response Journal for each book they read, and watch them blossom into more thoughtful and engaged readers!
Required summer reading has never been popular among many students at any age/grade level. Don't worry parents. There is a way to approach this task, so that it is more manageable and rewarding for your child! Here are 5 key components for devising a summer reading program for your child.
1. Find out what books are a part of core literature for their new grade level and purchase them to read. This will create familiarity and comfort going into the school year. You can also use their summer reading list as a guideline for the type of literature they will focus on.during the year.
2. Depending on your child's current reading level, set a goal to read at or beyond grade level. Some students may be willing to read and take risks (e.g. sound out challenging words) in a more comfortable environment (home) without the potential of being judged or mocked by classmates. Summer is the perfect time to close the gap by improving upon decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension.
3. Read everyday and incorporate it into their daily activities. It doesn't have to be sitting at home and reading in a quiet space for a designated amount of time each day. For example, if you will be going on a family vacation have them read facts about the place you will visit. They can learn ahead of time about tourist attractions, population, climate, etc.
4. Find different reading spaces in which to read. Create an environment at home that feels comfortable to read in. It can be inside or outside. A reading nook or study room at the library, or small coffee shop are also excellent choices. Be creative!
5. Keep a reading log. This is a terrific way for your child to track their progress.
These are simply components to get one started. Definitely make it your own based upon your child's personality and personal preferences!
Now do you feel better about your child’s summer reading?