With the end of the year in sight, lots of parents (and kids) start worrying about the dreaded summer reading packets. If you have a reluctant reader, the these packets can seem even more challenging. I’ve got some more specific strategies here for you parents with struggling readers. Summer reading shouldn’t feel like a chore. Luckily, I have some strategies to help your child (and you) survive this summer. You may even enjoy some new books!
Create a Plan:
Early in the summer, sit down with your child to create a plan of action. Try to minimize the “oh crap this is a lot” moment in August. Schedules tend to change drastically once school is over. It’s important to decide how and when you will work on the assignments. If the material is challenging for your child, divide the work. Time strategies work much better than assignment strategies. In other words, instead of asking your child to finish a certain number of pages, have your child work for a specific amount of time. This will allow your child to work at a pace that works best for them! If your child struggles with ADD/ADHD you may even want to split the time into two short intervals with a break in between. Building in a break will allow them time to refocus and they will be less likely to become frustrated and disconnected.
Work WITH Your Child:
When books are assigned, many students immediately become resistant. I have a little trick that I have been using on students for years. I have always spent some time reading aloud the first few chapters to get them hooked. Years ago I did this in my classroom with a particularly challenging book that my students were very resistant to reading. Before I knew it, the students were reading ahead and having their own discussions. Take a few minutes to read the book aloud to your child. If they have questions or become confused, you can have those discussions early in the book to get them off to a great start. Bonus? You get to read (or re-read) a book for the summer too!
Take a Quick Break:
Lots of parents want to give their children a break between the last day of school and starting the summer packets. I fully support this! Kids definitely need some time to unwind and decompress from the frenzy of activities that usually consume their lives in May and June. A week or two is perfectly fine, but pushing off the work until right before school begins can be extremely stressful. Though they may not remind you, your child has not forgotten about the assignments! Having these incomplete assignments looming ahead may be a source of stress for them. Long story short? Breaks are good. Avoidance is not.
Timing is Everything:
Getting that short bit of work out of the way in the morning can be helpful! Create a routine that allows your child to start the work early this way they have the freedom to enjoy the day without thinking about the work they have to complete in the evening. Have a super early camp schedule? Give them a snack in the afternoon and have them complete the work before they really power down for the day. Teens may be the exception to this rule, as many of them tend to sleep in much later than their younger counterparts. For teens it is often easier to nab them right after breakfast so that their work and sports schedules are not impacted!
Get the Info:
Students who spend the last week of summer half-reading and half-working on their assignments are really missing out. Those assignments are pretty pointless for everyone. Your child isn’t learning anything and the teacher isn’t getting a fair assessment of your child’s capabilities. While you may not agree with the amount or type of assignments, but letting your child complete it with little or no effort benefits nobody. Does that mean you should blindly ask your child to complete assignments? No. Talk to your school’s administrator to find out why the assignments are given and what skills they might be assessing. You may even be able to ask your administrator for an alternate assignment.
Summer reading can be a great way for the family to read new books together and foster some great discussion. It’s all in the approach! What are some ways you tackle summer assignments with your family?
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.