The Five Most Popular Questions When It Comes to Reading

3 kids - featheredLet’s face it, getting our kids to do things they don’t want to do is tiresome. It can end up in a handful of ways: tears, arguments, or yelling. We often just throw our hands up and admit defeat. Although this can happen with just about any academic subject, we see it frequently with reading and refusing to pick up books. Kids would rather play on their phone or watch TV than grab a novel and settle down to read.

If this sounds like your household, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. But before you hand back the iPad or tablet, read these five questions from parents about kids being reluctant to read and advice on how to tackle the issue.

 

How do I get my child to read on a nightly basis?

This is perhaps the question on every parent’s mind, especially given that 20-30 minutes of reading each night is often required for elementary school kids.

Avoid frustration and resentment towards reading and don’t make it part of the homework time. This only adds to the homework burden.

Instead, make reading a part of the evening routine. Schedule it after dinner and before bed, when your child is winding down for the night. When kids can equate reading to relaxation, it makes it all that easier.

Be careful to avoid saying, “Okay, it’s time to get ready for bed, go up in your room and read,” because it may not go well. Reluctant readers often have a hard time getting started independently. Instead, consider paired reading – you read a page, your child reads a page, or for a very reluctant reader – you read two pages, he reads one page. This actually takes two thirds of the burden of reading away from your child, and often when things seem easier to kids, they’re more likely to do it.

 

When we read together, how much should I correct?

As you read with your child, you may find that it’s your natural tendency to correct her mistakes, but this creates frustration.

If she skips over a word, or replaces a small word that doesn’t affect the meaning, leave it alone. Don’t correct her. However, if she replaces a word like, “grill” for “girl”, and it impacts the entire meaning of the sentence, you should probably draw attention to that.

But, before you shout, “That’s wrong!”, correct them sparingly. Your goal as a parent is just simply to be there to read with your child, not to make corrections. When kids are corrected too much they feel judged, and that’s when they avoid certain tasks like reading.

 

How can I get my kid to read independently?

Research shows when kids listen to an audio book and read along in the book at the same time, their reading skills soar.

What does this mean? Get your child an audio version of the book they’re reading and have him follow along in the book while he listens. It doesn’t mean that your child’s just staring off into space and listening halfheartedly.

If your child’s listening and following along, studies show that their reading fluency and comprehension improves so much faster than if they read independently. This can happen when kids pick books that are a little out of their reading level. Kids don’t get enjoyment from the book because it’s too difficult for them!  A simple solution is having them follow along to an audio version. They’ll benefit from both listening to fluent reading and meaning, thereby improving their own fluency and comprehension.

 

My son will only read graphic novels. How can I get him to move to another book? Do I force him to read something that has more content?

I get this question a lot from moms of boys. The answer is no. Kids will gravitate to other books on their own time. In fact, when teachers assign books for reading, they’re not usually assigning graphic novels. Instead, they’re assigning books that probably don’t have too many pictures. If we remember that reading should equate with relaxation, allow your child to continue reading graphic novels. At least he’s reading and finding pleasure from it.

Sometimes parents will ask about E-Readers. Are they good, or are they bad? Is this some new-age technology we know nothing about?! Parents will often report that their kids had really good intentions about reading a book on their Kindle Fire, but when parents go check on them, four different internet browsers are open and the book is nowhere on the screen.

Do you take the Kindle away? Do you make them read it in front of you?

What I can tell you is this: while Kindle Fires seem like the cool gadget to be seen with, it also has internet access. And having internet access means the reading comes second. Kids just become too distracted and they can’t control their own impulses to go online. A Kindle Paper White could be a better option. The Paper White has very limited internet options, and your kid can only go on Wikipedia and Amazon to buy books. With the Paper White, there are a lot fewer distractions during reading time.

 

What about online versus print reading, is there a difference?

Surprisingly, there is a large difference between online and print reading. A study of high school students found that when kids read a novel online vs. in print, they actually had better comprehension when sequencing events when reading in print.  Grasping the book in their hand made a huge difference over holding a square tablet.

When the book has lots of events, you are able to know “At this point in the book they were getting on a raft. That was about two thirds of the way through the book. I know that was kind of near the height of the story.” When you hold a book in your hand you have a sense of where you are in the book, where you are in the sequence of events. Although there’s not a huge difference in the impact of comprehension with online versus print reading, it does seem to be most effective when reading novels and sequencing events.

 

Remember, the most important thing you can do to help your child read is to encourage them and celebrate when they pick up a book! Hopefully, these questions help solve your child’s hesitancy to read, but if they haven’t, give us a call. A reading tutor may be what’s best for them.

Is Your Child Resistant To Reading?

shutterstock_148535423Does your child hate to read? Are you frustrated that they refuse to pick up a book, and instead, would rather play on their phone and scroll through the internet? Are you tired of arguing about reading? If so, you’re not alone. Many parents of young readers come to us throwing the white flag around because their child refuses to read.

What most parents do with this problem is to argue. They force their kid to read as part of their homework, which turns reading into a burden, and actually makes kids even more resistant to reading. If you ignore this issue now, it’ll get much worse. But how do you encourage reading when it’s the last thing they want to do?
We’ve got answers that work. Check out these six solutions to inspire reading in even the most hesitant bookworm.

  1. Be a Detective

The first step is figuring out what interests your child. Does your son or daughter love baseball? Looking up stats on their favorite player and reading their bios is definitely reading. And so are the articles in Sports Illustrated for Kids. Once you get your child hooked, take it one step further by finding related books on the subject. Check out Katie, Batter Up! by Coco Simon or the Baseball Great Series by Tim Green. These books will get your kids reading without them even realizing it!

 

  1. Dig into a Series

Even the most reluctant readers will latch onto a series such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” or engage in the short passages of “The Guinness Book of World Records.” Don’t worry about whether or not the book is a classic or is top notch literature. The point is to get your child reading. And quite often, when a child enjoys a book, she’ll seek out the next book in the series or another title by the same author.

 

  1. Reread a Favorite Book

Did you know that students improve their reading fluency when they read a passage or book three times? Repeated readings help with automaticity, not just at that time, but down the road as well.

Moreover, comprehension and fluency are boosted when the student reads books slightly below his current reading level. If your child tends to gravitate towards easier books, allow him to do so.

 

  1. Use the 5 Finger Rule

Some parents often make the mistake of choosing a book for their child that is a little harder to read than his current level.

If you’re unsure if the book is too difficult, use the five finger rule. If your child mispronounces five or more words on one page, the book is too hard. If he misses four words, reading will be a challenge, but can be done. In that case, consider reading the book together; you read two pages and your child reads one. Children will find more enjoyment in reading when you use this 2:1 ratio. If only two or three mistakes are made, the book is at the child’s interest level and is A-OK. And when your youngster can read an entire page perfectly, the book is likely a bit too easy, but for some very reluctant readers, that is perfectly fine.

 

  1. Unplug the Electronics

Block out time each evening for reading. That means turn off the television, put down the iPhone and tablet, and have your child sign off Snapchat or Instagram. Similar to DEAR in school, use 15 or 20 minutes before bedtime to Drop Everything And Read. This is a great time to instill the love of reading without the distractions of technology.

 

 

  1. Relax and Read without Criticizing

Take time to sit back relax, and read aloud with your kids. Take turns, laugh together, and enjoy the moment. As much as possible, don’t correct your child’s mistakes unless they detract from the meaning of the story. As soon as kids feel pressured or judged, they’re less willing to do the task at hand, like reading. When your child begins to associate reading with evening relaxation and the fun of delving into a page-turning book, he’ll be more likely to read independently and for pleasure later on.

Just remember, each child is different and reading is not something to be forced or thrust upon them! Encourage reading by introducing a variety books and materials. If you feel as though there may be more behind your child’s reluctance to read, consider getting a reading tutor. Our tutors help with reading comprehension, accuracy, speed, and more. Give us a call at 703-934-8282 to discuss options, or fill out a contact form here.

5 Fun Apps to Spark Inspiration

myHomeworkIn 1752, Benjamin Franklin experimented with electricity on a dark and stormy night and discovered the lightening rod. He was a major figure in working with electricity and the advancement of technology. Fast forward 264 years and technology has produced devices that can fit in the palm of your hand!

Technology has become an important part of our daily lives, but it doesn’t have to be used just for entertainment. There are a number of educational apps available for students to practice typing, reading, writing, and sharpening creative skills.

Here are five great apps to spark inspiration anywhere, any time:

  1. My Coloring Book by Jeff Pedersen

My Coloring Book allows kids to use a wide variety of colors to express their creativity. Avoid the mess of crayons and markers by coloring on an iPhone or iPad. This app helps with hand-eye coordination and is kid tested. You can even save your designs to your phone’s photos to print out.

  1. Rush Hour by ThinkFun, Inc.

Choose among 35 challenges as a beginner or a high expert and work to get a car free from the traffic jam. The goal is to move the car from the traffic jam by moving the blocking cars and trucks from its path. This app won the 2010 Parents’ Choice Gold Award for excellence in mobile play – and it’s free!

  1. TapTyping – Typing trainer by Flairify LLC

Now you can master typing on the go! Work on capitalization, punctuation, numbers, complicated sentences and symbols, and more. This is helpful for students who need to practice typing more before the school year starts. The app helps correct grammar by highlighting red and green words.

  1. Animal Jam – Play Wild! By Wildworks, Inc.animal_jam_logo

With this app, your child can become their favorite animal and learn about real animals and their habitats. Your child can build and decorate their own den, personalize their animal, and shop for clothes, furniture and other items. Wildworks partners with National Geographic to bring together education and technology in a new and fun way! There is also a secure log-in to protect privacy.

  1. Letris 4: Best word puzzle game by Ivanovich Games

Build words to keep your screen clear and empty as long as possible. There are more than 300 free levels, from relaxing to challenging. You can even challenge your friends with a multiplayer mode to see who can build the best words! This app allows you to sync up with an iPad, iPhone, or Facebook.

Let us know if you downloaded these fun apps and what kind of apps your kids are playing!

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5 Creative Ways to Learn Outside the Classroom

2c733448-9022-4655-8b7c-6c5048515a9bResearch shows that students lose up to 2.5 months in language arts and a whopping 3 months in math! But as a parent, how do you avoid a fight when your kid doesn’t want to complete an academic workbook? Instead of sitting your kid at the kitchen table with the workbook, read below for five creative ways to keep your kids engaged in learning.

Take advantage of your local public library

If your kid is a speedy reader, they’ll love checking out as many books as they want at the library. There are thousands of books for kids of all ages with so many topics to keep them engaged and learning. Even better, most public libraries have discussion groups or summer activities for students to prepare them for school. Let your child get their own library card! Depending on where you live, most cards are free or have a small purchasing fee. They’ll be so excited to show it off to their friends.

Experiment with science kits

Go to your local craft store and pick up some science kits. Many stores have rocket science kits, crystal growing kits, or chemistry kits. Your child will have fun making crazy and cool gadgets and forget they’re actually learning! You can find some here.

Improve math with sales!

Sales are a great way to practice math skills. You can make a lemonade stand in your neighborhood and count the number of buyers, lemonade packets, cups sold, and more. Those who are reluctant to practice math won’t even realize they’re learning. You can also do this with yard sales.

Make a keepsake item

To help with writing, encourage your child to start a scrapbook. They can cut out pictures from magazines, newspapers, or the internet. Have them write captions for pictures and describe keepsake items in the scrapbook. For older students, a blog or journal is a fun alternative. Some blog sites are even mobile-friendly or have apps to download. Some to check out are WordPress or Tumblr. They can add pictures, music, or videos.

Find history in local exhibits

If you live near museums, create scavenger hunts for your child! This is fun for kids of elementary, middle, or high school age. Pick a museum they would love to visit, then map out what kind of exhibits there are. Make a list of items to see and check them off when you visit them. To make it more challenging, find questions about the exhibit. If you’re visiting an art museum, ask your child who the artist was. If they get the artist correct, they get a point. You could even begin in the gift shop first, pick out an item, and then try to find it in the museum.

Have questions or want to know how I can help? Contact me at [email protected]

 

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Engage Your Reluctant Reader This Summer

It can be a tough task to engage your child in summer learning, especially if you have a reluctant reader on your hands. Thankfully, there are some fun and easy ways to incorporate reading without going overboard. Here are a variety of suggestions that might just work for your child!

Finding the Right Type of Book

Does your fifth grader enjoy cats? Find books on cats in the wild. How about an eighth grader who enjoys cars and motorcycles? Find a book on repair or popular models. Encouraging students to select books that they actually want to read is key. I love the Scholastic website, which allows parents and their kids to peruse books by reading level and interest. The key is to allow your child to choose the book he finds most interesting.

My Favorite Summer Books 

Although the Scholastic site is an easy way to find books by category, keep in mind that the titles you find are only published by Scholastic. There are lots of other amazing books on the market. Here are a few of my favorites:

Here’s Hank: Book 1 (early elementary) Here’s Hank features easy-to-read font, fun stories and great characters for children to read about!

Big Nate: Game On! (middle school students) Big Nate books have sold more than 4.5 million copies and been on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year. Follow sixth-grader Nate Wright as he prepares for the big sports win against his rival.

Promposal (high school students) Written by Rhonda Helms, follow Camilla on her search for the perfect prom.

Why a Kindle May be Better Than a Paperback 

Kindle-Paperwhite-2015-840x840Keep in mind that some students are so averse to reading that they do best by listening to audio books. This strategy works even better when kids follow along in the hard copy while listening. Some studies show that this improves fluency and comprehension even more than reading the hard copy book alone. But give your child an iPad or expensive Kindle Fire with all the bells and whistles, and before too long, she could be doing anything but reading! Instead, check out the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. The Paperwhite has very limited internet options (only Wikipedia and Amazon.com) so there are less distractions during reading time. Check out the options.

Now here’s the hard question: How do you get your child to actually read? 

For young children, try reading with your child. You read a page, she reads a page.  And if you have a really reluctant reader, you read two pages, and she reads one.

I also like the idea of getting the whole family in on the action. You can set aside 20 minutes a few nights out of the week where everyone sits down to read. It could be a book, a magazine, or even the sports section of the morning paper. They material isn’t important, but the act of relaxing and reading is what counts.

And lastly, most kids will want to read before bed. It’s relaxing. You may need to get your child started by reading every other page for her. Once she has a good start, let her go at it alone.

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Prevent The Summer Slide – How to Make Learning Fun without Kids Even Knowing They’re Learning

Today I had the pleasure of being interviewed for a segment on WTOP radio.

You can listen to the clip below.

 

Many parents and kids alike have grand plans of taking a break from learning over the summer to recharge, but studies show that this isn’t always a good idea. To read the transcript, scroll below!

Do kids really need to keep practicing academic skills over the summer? Don’t they need a break?

Kids lose about 2.5 months of progress in language arts and up to 3 months in math, so it’s important to keep them practicing academic skills, but you don’t need to go overboard.  There can absolutely be a balance between learning and play.

How do you find that balance?

There are actually lots of things parents can do to “disguise” learning. If your child is learning multiplication or decimals, put him in charge of figuring the tip every time you go out to eat this summer. And when you’re shopping, he can also estimate the sales tax on the items you buy.

Another way to squeeze in learning is good old fashioned board games. Consider a family game night once a week where your child gets to pick the game. Games like PayDay, Connect4 and Scrabble are fantastic ways to practice skills and have a lot of fun!

Sometimes students have summer homework assigned by teachers. How do you get your child started early, to prevent procrastination come August?

Waiting until the last week of August to write an essay, finish a math packet, or read a book puts stress on everyone. A good idea is to sit down with your child at the beginning of the summer and find out exactly what he has to do. If he has a book to read, discuss a start date of when he’ll begin reading, and then the dates at which he needs to be to be about a 1/3, and then 2/3 of the way through. Jot these milestones down on a calendar that’s in a public place, such as the refrigerator.

shutterstock_232499257Outside of school assignments, shouldn’t kids be reading for pleasure?

Yes, absolutely, but sometimes as parents, we turn reading into a power struggle. When parents say things like, “Go up to your room to read now” reading becomes a punitive task, which really don’t work well with reluctant readers. For young children, try reading with your child. You read a page, she reads a page.  And if you have a really reluctant reader, you read two pages, and she reads one.

I also like the idea of getting the whole family in on the action. You can set aside 20 minutes a few nights out of the week where everyone sits down to read – could be a book, a magazine, or even the sports section of the morning paper. They material isn’t important, but the act of relaxing and reading is what counts.

Speaking of reading, what’s a hot book for kids this summer?

Check out Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Great book for kids of all ages, especially middle schoolers!

Have a great summer!

Ann Dolin

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Our November Tutor of the Month is…

AAllillison Curtice! Allison has only been a tutor for a short time but has been working with students in the realm of education for 10 years–WOW! Her tutoring preferences are K-12 reading, writing, social studies, and geography.

Allison is a special education teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools. She works with students across various age and ability levels, which gives her a wonderful foundation when it comes to tutoring since she can adapt to the needs and goals of each individual student. Allison shared with us that she loves “working with students who are having a rough time getting information and seeing them have that ah-ha moment when they finally do.”

When she’s not tutoring, Allison enjoys going to the gym, hanging out with her two very awesome cats, Paige and Phoebe, cooking, decorating her balcony in the summer with colorful flowers, and immersing herself in anything to do with history.

 

Allison’s Tutoring tips:

Build a relationship with your students.

“When you meet a student for the first time, spend some time getting to know them. It’s very important that they know you are truly interested in them. Also, each time you see them after that, ask them how things are going and about any activities they are involved in. This type of bonding goes a long with motivating a student to do work.”

Integrate creative reading strategies.

“When it comes to having elementary students read, have the student break a reading assignment into chunks. Have them draw a line after each paragraph.  Have them read the paragraph, doodle a picture (for the younger children), or write a summary (for the older children). This helps when students have to answer questions at the end of the reading passage. They are then able to find the answers more quickly instead of having the reread the whole paragraph.”

Looking for a great tutor like Allison for your student? Give us a call at (703) 934 – 8282!

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Top Tutor Tips for Motivating Students

Helping to encourage and motivate a student who might be feeling negative towards school is no easy task, but our tutors have had great success as they work with students one-to-one. I asked a few of our tutors how they motivate their students on a daily basis. Here’s what they said:

 

For memory and retrieval:

Leitner system“I love using the Leitner system to help my students review for tests. You can study all sorts of
information from vocabulary words to math facts. I even take study guides, cut the questions into strips, and put them into the boxes. The picture below shows five boxes, but you can use three or four.

Here’s how it works: all the cards start off in Box 1. As you review the cards, each card you answer correctly goes into Box 2. If you give the wrong answer, study the card and then place it back in Box 1. When you review the cards in Box 2, if you still get the answer right, the card is promoted to Box 3, and so on until all the cards are in the highest box.

Kids love this method because it’s not only lots of fun and hands-on, but it helps them put important information into long-term memory. And once you create the boxes (or use envelopes instead of boxes), you’ll have a system you can use to learn virtually anything!” – Brian

 

For balancing easy and hard assignments:

“Negotiate.  I have some students who only want to work on ‘easy’ assignments with me so I have to say, ‘Ok, let do 20 minutes of a less fun assignment and then 20 minutes of a fun assignment’.” – Diana

 

For mastering math:Card game

“Just like the outdoor game of golf, the card game known as Golf has a goal of keeping the score as low as possible by adding and subtracting integers. Start by arranging nine cards in three rows of three. The goal from this point onward is to try to reduce the value of the cards you are holding. You can do this by swapping a card from your hand with one in the discard pile, one from the deck, or turning one over from your cards but only on your turn. The player with the lowest score wins the game.” – Jan

 

For addition and subtraction:

Dominoes“One of my go-to games is hopscotch–write numbers, addition/subtraction, or even multiplication and division problems on cards and make a hopscotch board to get the kids moving. If they get it right, they move forward; if it’s wrong, they go back a space. I also do this game with writing and reading–laminate pages with lines and have the student pick a card with a word on it. If they write all the letters correct, move forward. This also works great for sight word recognition.” –Christine
“Another game is to use dominoes with math, which works for adding, subtracting, and multiplication. Lay them out on the floor and have the student use a flyswatter to hit the number you call until they collect them all.” – Christine

 

For reviewing:

“Some of the things I’ve used include foam dice that have general questions on the side so they can be applied to any subject. They are used with a student’s study guide or review questions. For example, one of the questions is how/why…Used with a biology lesson, you can say how does DNA replication work? Or, why do we need oxygen?” – Tiffany

 

For paying attention:Ticket

“One of the issues my students face is being able to focus without going off task during sessions. I’ve found that when I redirect their attention frequently, they feel judged. To them, constant redirection feels punitive, so instead of me refocusing them, my goal is for them to notice the behavior themselves. When they’re about to drift off or get distracted and then they notice it and tell me, I give them a ticket. At the end of the session, they can trade their tickets in for prizes. I keep a small toy treasure chest with me. It has little pieces of candy and other trinkets. Kids love it! It also makes them more aware of it when they’re doing homework on their own, without me there.” – Brian

 

For multisensory motivation:

“For the majority of my students, I can say that some form of tactile involvement makes the difference between them spacing out and them remaining actively engaged.  I give students the choice between using a digital pad or a white board with an assortment of color options.  Whether working through math solutions or conjugating verbs, the novelty of such writing tools tends to be very effective in aiding retention.  In line with an interactive experience, active diagrams, such as those found at Phet.colorado.edu or Biosurf.com, add a visual dimension critical to understanding many scientific concepts.” – Ramtin

 

Love these ideas? We’re working on writing an entire ebook full of tips from tutors about how to motivate students, so be sure to check back here to read it!

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How to Get Even the Most Reluctant Reader to Turn Pages This Summer

Getting your child to engage in learning over the summer can be a tough task, especially if you have a reluctant reader on your hands. The good news is that there are actually some fun and easy ways to incorporate reading without going overboard. Here are a variety of suggestions that might just work for your child.

 

Finding the Right Type of Book

The Book With No Pictures CoverEncouraging students to select books that they actually want to read is key. I love the Scholastic website, which allows parents and their kids to peruse books by reading level and interest. Have a third grader who loves horses? There’s a book for her. How about a reluctant eighth grader who finds no joy in reading, but loves cars and motorcycles? There’s a book for him, too. The key is to allow your child to choose the book (even if it’s a graphic novel) or magazine he finds most interesting.

 

My Favorite Summer Books 

Although the Scholastic site is an easy way to find books by category, keep in mind that the titles you find are only published by Scholastic. There are lots of other amazing books on the market. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The Book with No Pictures (preschool, early elementary) This is an unlikely New York Times Best Seller because the book actually has no pictures! The silly sounds and ridiculous voices have children around the country laughing out loud with every page turned.
  • Wonder book coverWonder (middle school students) One of my favorite books of all time, Wonder, is a #1 New York Times Best Seller that has captivated over a million readers. It is about a boy who was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school, but in fifth grade he starts at Beecher Prep and wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid. The story is told from the perspective of the main character but quickly switches to the perspective of his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend and others. These perspectives converge around how young people struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. A great read for older elementary students, middle schoolers for sure, and even high schoolers and adults!
  • Paper Towns (high school students) Written by John Green, the wildly popular author of The Fault in Our Stars, this book’s movie adaptation is coming out this summer, meaning it will be a huge hit with teens. It explores topics such as growing up, graduating high school, and has a sense of mystery to it.

Why a Kindle May be Better Than a Paperback 

Keep in mind that some students are so averse to reading that they do best by listening to audio books. This strategy works even better when kids follow along in the hard copy while listening. Some studies show that this improves fluency and comprehension even more than reading the hard copy book alone. But give your child an iPad or expensive Kindle Fire with all the bells and whistles, and before too long, she could be doing anything but reading. Amazon has just come out with a $99 Kindle reader, a very basic version of the Kindle Fire. Check out the options.

Now here’s the hard question: How do you get your child to actually read? 

There are a few things you can do. The first is to dedicate time after dinner for DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). Put those phones down and turn the TV off so that everyone is reading their own book. Another idea is to have the whole family read the same book, kind of like a book club. Be sure that the youngest child can read the book. An easy way to do this is the 5-finger rule. If your child can read one page with no mistakes, the book is probably a bit too easy. If she misreads one to three words, the book is within her range, but if she misses four or five words on the page, it’s probably too difficult.

And lastly, most kids will want to read before bed. It’s relaxing. You may need to get your child started by reading every other page for her. Once she has a good start, let her go at it alone.

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WTOP Interview – Tips to Prevent the Summer Learning Slide

Today I had the pleasure of being interviewed for a segment on WTOP radio.

You can listen to the clip below.

 

 

To read the transcript and an extra tip not included in the audio, read on!

 

Do kids really need to keep practicing academic skills over the summer?  Don’t they need a break?

As a parent you have to find a happy medium. Kids lose about 2.5 months in language arts and up to 3 months in math, so it’s important to keep them learning over the summer to avoid the slide. You can still have a summer full of relaxation, while weaving in summer learning.

 

Sometimes students have summer homework assigned by teachers. How do you get your child started early, to prevent procrastination come August?

WTOP Radio LogoWaiting until the last week of August to write an essay, finish a math packet, or read a book puts stress on everyone in the family. Summer assignments are meant to be done over a period of multiple weeks, if not months, and they are never done well at the last minute. A good idea is to sit down with your child at the beginning of the summer. Help him break down big tasks into manageable chunks. For example, if he has a 300-page novel to read, discuss a start date of when he’ll begin reading, and then the dates at which he needs to be to be about a 1/3, and then 2/3s of the way through. Jot these milestones down on a calendar that’s in a public place, such as the refrigerator. Check in a few days before each mini deadline to be sure he’s on track.

 

Speaking of reading, what are the hot books for kids this summer?

One of my favorite books of all time, and one that’s been a #1 New York Times Best Seller, captivating over a million readers is Wonder. Wonder is about a boy who was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school, but in fifth grade he starts at Beecher Prep and wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid. The story is told from the perspective of the main character but quickly switches to his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend and others. A great read for older elementary students and middle schoolers.

For high schoolers, Paper Towns, by John Green, the wildly popular author of The Fault in Our Stars, is top on the list this summer. The book’s movie adaptation is coming out in July, meaning it will be a huge hit with teens.

Regardless of which books they read, the magic number is four. Research shows that the summer learning slide can be avoided in reading when students read four books.

 

What about writing? How do you get your child to write?

I’ve found that because girls’ fine motor skills, such as handwriting, develop earlier than boys’, they’re more likely to want to write. But for boys, tying writing to sports can be motivating. “Through the Mail” is a method that encourages children to write to their favorite professional athletes in exchange for autographs. The website cardboardconnection teaches kids to write a persuasive letter for their best chance to receive an autograph back.

 

Math and More…

For tips on how to make numbers more exciting during the dog days of summer, check out my article, 4 Tips to Make Learning Math Fun This Summer. You can find more articles on cutting-edge ideas for learning on our blog.

Wishing you all the best for a fun-filled summer,

Ann Dolin

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