Summer is quickly approaching and that means it’s time for some family fun in the sun!  Summer is also a great time to help your child gain or sustain reading skills.  Reading regularly to your child — at any age — will boost their brain development, your bond, and so much more.  All it takes is a few books and a little time to help your child develop into a life-long reader!  

Here are some simple tips to help your child develop or maintain their reading readiness skills over the summer:  

  1. Talk! Talk! Talk!  Communicating with your child regularly is one of the best things a parent can do with their child.  Simply put, the more words a child hears, the stronger their vocabulary and reading skills tend to be.  Think of yourself like a reporter, narrating your child’s daily routines:  “OK, it’s time to go to the park!  Let’s find our jackets. Your jacket is blue! Mine is brown.”   Add “big” words to your speech. “Look at that big tree! It’s  humongous!”
  1. Read! Read! Read!  Research says that the best way to help your child develop a lifelong love of reading is to read with them every day.  When a child listens to a story, their minds are at work and actively engaged, taking in all the language they hear as well getting a brain boost in imagination and comprehension.  And of course, those precious one-on-one moments you share pouring over a book together are priceless! 
  1. Practice “interactive reading” with your child.  A traditional read–aloud is where a child sits quietly as a story is being read; an interactive read–aloud invites conversation from cover to cover. When you read with your child, try pausing and talking about something the story made you think about.  Try making a connection: “This part reminds me of…”  or asking your child a question: “What was your favorite part of the story?  Mine was…”.   This way, your child will begin to understand that reading isn’t just about what’s happening in the book, but also about what’s happening in our heads!  
  1. Read books multiple times to your child. Repeated exposure helps children remember patterns, novel words and connect key concepts.  So, when you hear your child shout, “Again! Again!” as you close the book, best to take a deep breath and start from the beginning!  
  1. Practice rhyming with your child. Recognizing rhyming words is an important skill as children get ready to read.  Rhyming helps children listen and focus closely on sounds within words and helps to improve their oral language skills.  It’s also FUN!   Play rhyming words with your child.  Instead of “I spy with my little eye”,  why not try “I HEAR with my little EAR something that rhymes with _______”?
  1. Practice phonemic awareness.  Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear sounds in words. Young children don’t naturally hear the sounds within words. For example, they hear “dog,” but not the “duh”-“aw”- “guh.” To become readers, they have to learn to hear these sounds (or phonemes).  Try breaking familiar, predictable words into sounds when you speak and make it into a little guessing game.   For example, instead of saying: “Time for bed”, try: “Time for “buh-eh-duh”.  
  1. Print Awareness.  Children with print awareness understand that print carries meaning and has different functions.   Pointing out print on signs, menus and in stories is an important first step in helping children develop print awareness.  
  1. Read around the room!  Recognizing print can help children make the important connection between letters and sounds.  Point out printed signs in stores and on the street.  Label everyday things around your home with small cards such as “door”, “fridge”, “table”, “chair”.  Your children will likely become curious about the signs and ask “What is this?” or “What does this say?”  The goal is not that your child can read the signs but that they are developing an awareness of letter-sound correspondence.  
  1. Create a space and a place for reading. Create a special, quiet place in your home for your child to read, write and draw. Keep books and other reading materials where your child can easily reach them. Add pillows, blankets, and a special “story stuffie” your child can read with. Visit the local library and encourage your child to choose their own books to add to their “Reading Corner”.   
  1. Read along to Audio Books.  Following along with the words while listening to a story is an excellent way for your children to develop reading readiness.  When we aren’t there to read to them, encourage your child to listen to a story while following along. Digital reading platforms, such as Simbi, provide a wide variety of books for all ages, levels, and interests that readers can follow along to while they listen.

Simbi offers readers of every age, level, and interest access to an amazing online library of engaging books and three different ways to read.  Choose from reading along, narrating, or reading silently.  

Why not sign up your child to enjoy reading independently all summer with the Simbi Summer Reading Club?  

Happy reading with your child this summer!

About the Author Adrienne Gear

Adrienne is a teacher, author and speaker from Vancouver, BC She has over 25 years of elementary teaching experience and has written seven professional books for elementary teachers in the area of reading, writing, and thinking. Adrienne is also a Literacy and Learning advisor with the Simbi Read for Good platform. She is a well-sought after speaker and speaks to educators across the country and around the world. She is passionate about reading, children’s literature, and all things west coast. Adrienne currently lives in Kelowna, BC with her husband and their dog.

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