By Pam Tan, M.Ed. of Tan Educational Consulting
Most children with reading disorders are reluctant to pick up a book and read. The goal for the summer months is to find your child looking at a book or reading/listening to a book when he/she hasn’t been told to go read.
Summer should be a relaxed time for children when they can read for pleasure without the pressure they experience in the classroom. It is a time to build their confidence, improve reading fluency and comprehension, and develop a love for reading.
Here are some summer strategies to help your child enjoy reading:
· Give them easy reading. Most of their reading material in the summer should be on or slightly below their grade level.
· Let them decide what they want to read (besides the required reading given to them by their school). Try different types of reading material such as comic books, magazines, joke and riddle books, recipes (and then make the recipe of their choice), newspapers, etc. Build on their interests (sports, dancing, animals, science).
· Use technology: Find software that reads books aloud, use audio books and eBooks. Please see our recent Technology Resources post.
· Be a role model. You should read your book or magazine in front of them or even while they are doing their reading.
· Read with your children. Take turns reading the pages. Make sure you enjoy the book together and avoid correcting them too much. Talk about the book together and ask them open-ended questions like “What do you think is going to happen next?”
· Read to your children. Have your child pick a book that is interesting and might be too difficult for him/her. After they finish their own reading, spend 10 minutes just reading to them.
· Have older children read to their younger siblings and the younger ones read to the older children (give yourself a break from the reading time!).
· Have younger children read to their favorite stuffed animal or doll.
· Make a chart of reading time or books read and give your child weekly or biweekly rewards for reading time in the summer. The reward could be as simple as playing a game with mom or dad. Thirty extra minutes of “screen time” would probably be a big hit. My children always love a trip to Starbucks!
· Plan at least one trip to the library and have your child check out a book of their choice.
· Visit a book store and just hang out and look at different kinds of books. Let them choose one to buy. Get a special drink or treat (always a hit with my kids). You will be surprised how long you will end up staying there. You can also go to a comic book store and buy some comic books.
· If you are going on a family vacation, check out or purchase a book about your destination and read it together.
Remember reading is a challenge for them. Show empathy, but let them know reading time is not a choice. If your child refuses to read, then require 10-30 minutes (depending upon their age) of reading BEFORE any technology or other activity takes place.
Check out these helpful websites and organizations for some valuable technology resources for your children with reading disorders.
· LD Online, Reading Software: Finding the Right Program, go to http://www.ldonline.org/article/7765/ to help you find applicable software that reads books aloud. LD Online also lists many helpful sites, some are included below.
· Use Curriculum Software Search for appropriate and useful software programs. stages.cambiumlearning.com
· National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM): Focuses on the technological aspects of e-books and digital talking books (DTB) software and hardware.
· Tech Matrix: Gives many assistive and educational technology tools and resources to support learning for students with disabilities. I really like this website!
· Visit Learning Ally for audio books and recorded text books (this is formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) for students with learning disabilities and visual impairments. Another great site!
· Texas Assistive Technology Network: Go under useful links for several good digital and e-text resources
· PicPocket Books: This iphone/ipad app was developed by a mom who had a reluctant reader.
· Guys Read: This is a web-based literacy program for boys. This is not specific to children with learning disabilities, but it is a great site to visit with your son.
· Build your digital library together. Involve your child when you select which book apps to load on their digital device. An article by Carisa Kluver recommends the following resources; Digital Storytime, KinderTown, Moms with Apps, Common Sense Media, Children’s Technology Review, Parent’s Choice and Kirkus Reviews for their recommendations.
About Pam Tan: Pam received a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Business from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN (1991) and an M.Ed. in Special Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA (1993). Pam has 10 years of experience teaching children and adolescents with learning disabilities, ADHD, language and auditory processing disorders, and behavioral-emotional disorders.
Pam has experience teaching in both the public and specialized private school settings in Charlotte, NC, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her own personal experiences as a parent helps her to understand the feelings of frustration in the special education process, empathize with parents who are trying to navigate through the system, and relate to a parent’s desire to maximize their students’ learning, success, and self-esteem.
Her mission is to strive to provide support and information to parents so they can advocate for their children’s needs and services at school. Her goal is to empower parents to become effective team members in their child’s education and to work with and develop a positive relationship with all service providers involved in their child’s education.