Preventing Summer Slide

By Jo Fuller

Intro: Summer slide is rightly a concern for every teacher and parent of a school-age child, but for parents of dyslexic and other learning disabled kids, it is especially dangerous.  As a licensed dyslexia therapist and 40- year veteran educator, I have seen firsthand the damaging effects of summer slide on students who begin the school year even farther behind their peers than they were when school left off in June.

Here are some tips I give to parents on how they can make the summer work for rather than against, their child.

1. Rhyme with your children. One excellent predictor for reading success in kindergarten students is being able to rhyme words.

  • Read rhyming books.
  • Rhyme the names of objects in the house.
  • Rhyme in the car.
  • Build a book of rhymes from magazine pictures. Find a picture. Then find another picture that rhymes with it.
  • Learn nursery rhymes and sing them often.

2. Let your child draw a picture. Have them make up a sentence or a story about the picture as you write what they say. Let them read the story back to you.

3. Write letters and thank you notes to family or friends.

4. Expose your child to a wide variety of books and magazines—both fiction and nonfiction. Magazines are wonderful. Who doesn’t like to get mail?  The publisher, Cricket, offers print and digital magazines on science, art, language arts, and a range of additional topics for kids up through age 14.

5. Consider initiating a Family Reading Time where everyone in the family gathers and reads: the newspaper, a magazine, an article on the iPad, or a book. Then let everyone shares a little about what they just read.

6. Read different kinds of things with your child:

  • A cookbook.
  • Directions for putting together something new.
  • The grocery list
  • A restaurant menu.
  • A list of errands.
  • A list of chores to be done.
  • etc.

This is real life reading that all children need to know about.

7. Read to your child. They are never too old. They get exposed to varying vocabulary, sentence structure and story structure.

8. Make a vocabulary book or chain. Keep a list of new words that your child learns. Have them write their own sentence using the word.

9. Kids of all ages are drawn to technology, so pair their engagement with the computer, iPad or smartphone with applications such as MindPlay, which uses video coaches to help dyslexic learners leap up grade levels in reading after several hours of skill practice.