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NEWS | July 5, 2011

Summer reading for early readers

By Cicely McCray Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station school liaison officer

During your children's school vacation, it is important for him or her to spend time reading and writing on a regular basis - whether they are beginning or a fluent reader. Luckily, summer's more flexible schedule and wide array of activities lend themselves to literacy opportunities. Try some of these suggestions for making your school-aged child's summer full of literacy fun.

Be a reader and writer yourself: When you spend time reading books on the beach or even directions for how to put together the grill this summer, you demonstrate for your child that reading is both fun and useful.

Set aside a consistent time each day for reading: Depending on your family's schedule, reading time might be in the morning, afternoon or before bed. Whatever time you choose, stick to it but also remember that flexibility around trips and special family events is ok.

Read aloud to your reader: As school-aged children become better readers, parents often stop reading aloud to them. However, by reading more difficult books aloud to your children, you help them learn new vocabulary words, concepts and ways of telling stories or presenting information. You also enjoy the closeness of sharing a book with your child.

Connect read-aloud choices to summer activities: Read your child books about camping, such as "Webster and Arnold Go Camping," before or after a camping trip. When you read and discuss books about things your children have experienced, you help them learn important vocabulary and extend her understanding of experiences.

Allow your child to choose books for summer reading: While it is important for your children to complete reading assignments required by their school, it is equally important for them to read about topics that interest them, whether it is insects, dragons or a favorite fiction series.

Help your child select books at a comfortable level: Listen to your children read. If they read smoothly, use expression and can accurately tell you what they have read, the book is probably at a comfortable level. If you are having trouble judging, consult your local children's librarian who is likely to be an expert at matching books to readers. In addition, teach children to use the "Rule of Thumb" in selecting books: If they make five or more errors in reading a page of about 50 words, the book is too challenging.

Encourage children not to limit summer reading to books: Encourage your children to read the sports page to check up on their favorite baseball team or to read children's magazines such as "Ranger Rick," "National Geographic World" and "New Moon."

Read a book and watch the video together: When you finish reading and viewing, discuss the similarities and differences and talk about which version you prefer. Many books, including "Stone Fox," "Sarah, Plain and Tall" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" are available in movie versions.

Take books along on outings: Pack books in your beach bag or picnic basket, and bring a stack on long car rides. You and your children can enjoy books together anywhere you go this summer.

Encourage your child to write this summer: From writing postcards to friends and relatives to keeping a journal while on a trip, summer presents unique ways for your children to write about their own experiences. Have your children pack a disposable camera on vacations or day trips and help them create a book about their experiences.

Remember to make reading a fun, enjoyable activity: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go," Dr. Seuss.
For more information regarding reading or school related matters, contact Cicely McCray, School Liaison Officer at764-7869 or cicely.mccray@us.af.mil.