Many of the staff at Halifax Learning are parents too. Which is why we've written this blog.
1. Start planning now!
Classic teacher. Plan, plan, plan and then plan some more.
Most of us have already booked our camp sites, hotel rooms for wedding season and concert tickets, but how thoughtful have you been about how you'll ensure your child maintains (and hopefully improves upon) their literacy skills. This is not an easy task and without proper planning and inspiration you'll likely run into conflict, whining and ultimatums. Summer is a chance to relax, have fun and have make memories. We think that means more opportunity to incorporate reading and writing into your plans!
2. The Golden Rule - Read every day!
This is a no brainer. We probably all do a great job integrating reading into our evening bedtime routine, but is this really quality time or just us parents trying to survive the chaos in hopes of getting some much needed shut eye!? A structured reading time is best, but what does that mean, because if it means reading at the same time each day, I'm out. I had to learn very quickly the difference between structure, schedule and routine. We think that a structured reading time means selecting reading material and presenting in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Keep reading!
3. Be Prepared!
Wherever you go, whether it’s the beach, park, or a long car-ride, pack a few books and writing resources.
Below is a list that pairs books with local excursions or at home activities. Associating books with adventure will have a profound impact on your child's approach to reading as an agent of discovery.
4. Read Aloud!
- Atlantic ABC, by Angela Doak
- Go anywhere! We recommend taking a camera or a sketchpad and creating your own version of an Atlantic ABC book.
- A is for Adventure, by Jan Lapierre - Anywhere!
- This book is an excellent resource for families looking for inspired stay-cation ideas.
- Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds
- Nova Scotia Art Gallery, Clay Cafe or at Home. Ish is a great lesson in
- The Harbour Seal, by Dorette Groenendyk
- Where else? The Halifax Waterfront!
- Be Who You Are, by Todd Parr
- Stay home, create a self-portrait. Who are you?
Parents are a child's first teacher. Your approach to reading and writing will set the tone, but that tone doesn't need to be rigid perfection to the text. Modeling good reading fluency is important, but don't be afraid to deviate from the script.
This is a key to survival in our house. Being flexible, creative and engaging during reading sessions is a valuable skill that will ensure your child associates reading with positive, happy times! When my daughter asks why a goat is wearing a monocle or what is that tall pointing building in the picture, this is a teachable moment! Engaging in your child's questions is affirming their interests and curiosity.
Find creative ways to build in shared-reading time with your child, not just independent, silent reading. If your child acts out and becomes defiant, this is likely a sign of a struggle. We offer a free, no-obligation literacy skills assessment that will answer all of your questions about how your child processes text. Our SpellRead students take part in share-reading every class and read aloud with our expertly trained staff.
"Children who struggle when reading texts aloud do not become good readers if left to read silently; their disfluency merely becomes inaudible." - Language at the Speed of Sight, by Mark Seidenberg
5. Practice What You Preach
Remember what I said about being a role-model? Monkey see, monkey do. Set a good example and show your children your love of books. But, time is precious and who wants to waste it on a lousy book. Here's my list of planned summer reading. Here are a few potential titles:
- The Boat People, by Sharon Bala
- Seven Fallen Feathers, by Tanya Talaga
- The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
What's on your summer reading list? Send your recommendations in the comments!
6. Choose ‘Fun’ Reading
Allow your children to choose reading material other than books. If you've been following our blogs, we talked about this in Reading Opportunities are Everywhere! Do you know Where to Find them?
Magazines, graphic novels, and reading the sports’ scores are all great opportunities for reading. We use Newsela, a free resource, for engaging content articles for all ages!
7. Let Reading Enhance Your Travels
Find a book set in the location you will be visiting. Your children can learn about the town’s history and local interest before seeing it for themselves. Going on a road trip? Make a game of reading road signs and place names on route to your destination. Teach your child to read a map; allow them to be navigator as you find your destination. There is no better teaching strategy than allowing the student to become the teacher.
8. Read books connected to your summer activities
There's a theme here. Make reading meaningful and thoughtful and you'll have substantially more success.
How many of you read Anne of Green Gables as a child and were then mesmerized to visit Anne's home in Prince Edward Island?! The experience of visiting that place that had previously only lived in your imagination?! What a profound experience for a developing reader.
9. Make the most of rainy days
- Watch a movie inspired by one of your favourite books and compare the two. The options are endless!
- Visit a museum on a topic of interest from a non-fiction reading selection. Bring home pamphlets and information sheets or visit the museum gift shop for their reading recommendations.
- Use a favorite book to inspire an afternoon of arts and crafts.
- Plan a trip and start researching the area, culture, accommodations and excursions you'd like to plan.
10. Write About it!
Inspire your child to write by letting them be in control. Or at least let them think they are! Here are some tips to guide your child toward writing that is meaningful and more importantly, inspired. Because let's be real, Mom and Dad want to enjoy their summer vacay too. #amirite
- Let them pick a journal and customize it! Recently we went to the dollar store and purchased plain black scrapbooks with hard covers, then we went nuts in the sticker aisle and voila, custom journals that they are proud of and excited to fill with new ideas!
- Let them set the expectations and create a tracking system that they can maintain. What is the goal? What do they want to produce by the end of the summer?
- Let them pick the writing topics. You can do this by having your child brainstorm and dictate a list of topics. Write them on popsicle sticks or strips of paper and fill an empty box or jar for random selection.
11. Bonus Tip Alert! Skip the summer slide with Summer Camp at Halifax Learning!
If all of this sounds appealing to you, but you're thinking to yourself ... umm, I have a day job, multiple children and an endless to-do list. We get it. So do we, which is why we want to offer the best summer camp options for developing readers and their busy, well informed and thoughtful parents.
Our Summer Camp is a unique experience of education and exploration. At Halifax Learning we practice what we preach and will be using all of these tips this summer to inspire our campers to read and write and have fun doing it!
Visit our Summer Camp page for our 2018 itinerary and meet our Camp Director, Emily.