Helping Kids retain Literacy skills Over Winter Break

By Maria Laing

Though longer school vacations allow kids to spend valuable time with family or take extended trips, even two weeks can be too long a time for a child who needs daily reinforcement of literacy skills. Here are ten family-centric things parents can do to ensure their children don’t fall behind over the holiday.

1. Take a trip to the library and stock up on books. Scour the shelves together, discuss the titles, read the opening pages and experience the satisfaction of choosing hardbound books to take home.

2. Participate in library offerings of story time and other activities during the holidays. Many libraries offer special opportunities and special hours for students during holidays. Check out your local library’s programs and schedules.

3. On a road trip, look for the alphabet in license plates. Read billboards and signs along the way.

4. Create new holiday traditions by reading favorite holiday stories as a family. Set aside a time that’s convenient for all.

5. If you’re spending extended time around relatives, such as grandparents or cousins, have family members take turns reading to each other.

6. Follow a recipe together. Family time where everybody pitches in to cook a meal reinforces both close relationships and literacy skills.

7. Take advantage of available technology. If you have Internet access and you’d like your child to return to school with a leg up in literacy, MindPlay is one option for working on specific skills. Kids can receive motivating certificates you can print out and display to show skills mastered. Celebrate growth as a family.

8. Audiobooks can also reinforce literacy. Learning Ally is free and can be used on all devices.

9. Access other websites for reading experiences at #RGSTeacher’sLounge, many are free. I have tried Storyline Online and it’s great.

10. Create your own holiday stories and read them aloud or write them down and exchange stories. Alternatively, create new endings to old favorites.

The holidays don’t need to be a time of skill regression. Family-centric activities can bring everyone together while also reinforcing reading as an enjoyable and unifying activity.

Maria Laing is an Elementary Special Education teacher, the 2018 Florida Atlantic University Lab School District Teacher of the Year and Mindplay manager for the district.