Top 10 Tips for Summer Reading

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Summer is here! Are your kids reading? Kids need to read during the summer to help prevent the “summer slide”. Outlined below are ten ways to get your child reading more over the summer.

 

  1. Visit your public library weekly. Take part in your library’s summer reading program. Get to know your children’s librarian or youth librarian. Use them as a resource to help your child find books that will engage them.
  2. Bring a book with you everywhere! There so much time to sneak reading in everywhere we go. The park, the doctor’s office, and while waiting in line at the post office are all places where reading time is alive and well if children are prepared with a book.
  3. Vary fiction and nonfiction. A good balance between the two is important. Children need to know how to read both!
  4. Read about vacation destinations. Taking a vacation this summer? Check out books and websites about where you are visiting. Children having knowledge about where they are visiting will help them enjoy the trip even more.
  5. Get involved in a summer reading program. It is not too late to join in a summer reading program. Check out programs online from Barnes & Noble, Sylvan, and Chuck E. Cheese. Also check out your local public library’s program.
  6. Exchange screen time for book time. If your children want screen time make an exchange for book time. A reasonable exchange rate for most children is 30 minutes of reading for 15 minutes of screen time.
  7. Take advantage of summer nights for family reading and learning. On a warm clear night head outside with a flashlight and a book on constellations. Read under the stars about the constellations and their stories. Then find them in the sky. It may also be a great time for some ghost stories or scary stories.
  8. On a rainy day explore poetry reading and then write poems. It will help the time pass and let kids enjoy some fun on a rainy day.
  9. Plan a trip to the local zoo or museums by reading online about those places. Let your child research the location online. Allow them to read maps and plan a part of your trip. They will feel empowered through their reading skills and ability to make plans for their family visit.
  10. Be a reading role model for your child. Children who see their parents read will know that it is an enjoyable activity and will model that behavior. As your child’s first and best teacher, be the best reading role model you can be!

 

My Students Are Begging for More Guided Reading With Snap Learning

Guided reading has never been so engaging. For the past month my students have been enjoying improving their reading skills with Snap Learning’s guided reading program. The program is so user friendly and intuitive for both teachers and students. SnapLearning has thought of everything. As a teacher who has 5 iPads and 27 students I appreciate the little things that Snap Learning did to make it work for everyone! I most appreciate the individual student log in because it makes sharing iPads and the using the program simple! In the past my students participated in small guided reading groups with me, but they have never begged to be in the first group to go until now. My students can’t wait for their turn to be in a guided reading group because each lesson is full of engaging, relevant content that they actually enjoy reading about.

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The lessons are packed with interactive content that draw the students in and make them want to read and comprehend. The lessons contain videos and other interactive media that build up their background knowledge and get them excited about reading the passages. The vocabulary instruction is explicit and students go through each word at their own pace, moving on when they are ready, just like the rest of the lesson. Each lesson contains a section for a written response too. My students are writing details and using text evidence in these responses. Writing about what they are reading is such an important skill in the era of CCSS. They are writing with details because they are engaged and motivated to share what they are learning. Speaking of CCSS, the lessons are aligned with CCSS and the informational texts are of very high quality. Students can pick out vocabulary controlled text easily and feel insulted by it in traditional guided reading materials, but that is not a worry with SnapLearning’s guided reading program. My students not only enjoy reading with SnapLeaning’s guided reading program, but they are showing signs of reading improvement in their daily work and progress monitoring! What more could a teacher ask for? I have engaged students who are loving reading and showing improvement in their reading ability thanks to Snap Learning.

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HEIDI MORGAN is a 6th grade Reading and Language Arts teacher. She is passionate about technology integration and is always looking for new and innovative ways to create the best 21st century learning environment for her students.

Visit her blog: http://cornerofteachandtech.blogspot.com/

Reaching Resistant Readers

From our Guest Blogger Sara Heintzelman

As we approach a new school year, we are likely to interact with students who struggle with reading. If you can understand why your students are struggling, chances are you will be able to find ways to help these resistant readers.

Understanding why students struggle
Although it may seem obvious, the best way to find out is to ask your students. Older students may have very specific answers such as, “I get made fun of when I read,” or “I get embarrassed when I have to read aloud,” or “The books we read are boring.”

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Another effective strategy to determine student struggles is to collect and carefully analyze data. Reading fluency probes, anecdotal notes, and classroom observations can be helpful when determining patterns in the student’s strengths and weaknesses. While it is common to collect these pieces of data, it is equally as important to look at the data and then use the data to make decisions.

Finally, communicate with your team of teachers to gain their feedback and input. A simple classroom observation from another teacher may give you a different perspective. For example, a teacher who observes a struggling reader may notice that the student will not volunteer to read to the whole group, but when a teacher is not directly with their group will read aloud with peers. As the primary teacher of a large group of students, this may have gone unnoticed without another teacher’s observation.

Ways of overcoming reading issues

Listen to your students: If a student perceives that they get made fun of when they read, encourage all students in your classroom to praise each other after reading aloud. Allow that student to read passages you are confident they can successfully read aloud. Older students sometimes communicate that they are bored by the selections within reading curriculum. Do you give your students free time to read their own choice of books?

Share your own experiences: Talk about the books you personally read with your students; engage in meaningful conversations with students about how to find books that meet their interests. When you share your reading experiences, you may find that you have commonalities with your students and can make recommendations for their reading selections.

Provide choice: Give students a choice in reading materials whenever possible. Reading curriculum can be very scripted, but when the student has the choice to read about dogs or plants, often that choice alone can make the student feel in control and more willing to try their best.

Encourage discussion: Design your reading class in a way that students can engage with their peers about reading. Whether it is a structured conversation that you lead, or a time for students to recommend books to friends, this time to talk about reading is crucial to a child’s perception of reading.

Provide direct, explicit instruction: Teach the students how to read. Simple, but most commonly overlooked. Think about how the student best learns, and teach them through direct instruction.

Students resist reading for a reason. Talk to your students, teach your students, and ultimately, you will reach them.

 

Sara is a special education teacher and staff development facilitator at Centennial School of Lehigh University. She teaches upper elementary students with behavior disorders and mentors new teachers.

Thank you, Sara!