• Nichole LaGrow

On the Level

As we near the end of the school year, some of us may be waiting to hear if our child is ready to progress to the next grade level. The summer is the perfect opportunity to support your child in bolstering their reading success.

In addition to seeking individual tutoring or summer programming through your local school or library, there are a few things you can do to help strengthen your child's reading skills this summer.

One strategy is to tap into your child's interests. Your local library can help you find age and reading-level appropriate books that focus on their interests. Encourage your child to select one or two books to check out at a time making sure that those books align with their interests. If you read the books too, it will give you more to talk about with your child, and perhaps the conversation will lead to requests for more books.

Another strategy is to tap into the prolific number of children's books that have been made into television shows and movies. Select one age and reading-level appropriate book that has been made into a movie to read. The reward for reading the book is a family movie night. Make sure you talk about the differences between the book and the movie. Were the characters as imagined? What elements of the plot were not included in the movie? What elements were embellished?

Build a bridge to more age and grade-level appropriate works with a book below reading or grade level. Many classic works of children's literature like Black Beauty, Little Women, Tom Sawyer, and Treasure Island have been rewritten and abridged for a variety of audiences. Many publishers sell these works as a collection that you can add to throughout the summer months.

Finally, if your school offers a reading list of books for the summer, begin by reading a few books from your child's previous or current grade level to build confidence. As the summer progresses, select a book from your child's current or future grade level. Read the books aloud together for a few minutes. Slowly encourage your child to take more and more ownership of reading aloud.

Reading is a lifelong skill that takes time to develop. Be patient with your young reader. Make the reading experience as positive as possible.

Happy reading!

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