Getting your dyslexia child to want to read this summer can sometimes be a challenge. I have students whose moms reveal their kids will simply not pick up a book on their own. They will however, if mom or dad initiates it, and provides a bit of support like reading together, reading aloud or listening on audio. I know these moms are eager to have their children get over the hump and WANT them read just for the sake of pleasure, without coaxing them. It’s hard. I totally get that, especially if YOU yourself were an avid reader as a child and still are. There are some things we can do to catch a spark and light the flame, though!
Today, Alison, mom of a dyslexia child is sharing tips to get your kids engaged and excited about summer reading. If you have anything to add to her ideas, please let us know in the comments. Thank you!
How to Get Your Dyslexic Child Engaged and Excited About Summer Reading
As a child, I looked forward to the endless days of summer when I could get lost in whatever book I was reading. We didn’t take fancy and elaborate vacations, so I quenched my wanderlust by jumping into books.
Unfortunately, my dyslexic child does not see reading in the summer the same way. For her, reading is work. Summer is synonymous with “no work.” And therein lies the challenge—how do you get your dyslexic child engaged and excited about summer reading.
Pulling from my experience as a language arts teacher and my own love for literature, I have come up with a few key strategies you can use to get your child reading during the summer months. I even have included some free printables so that you can just “plug and play” these strategies.
We all know how important reading practice is for a dyslexic child. My daughter gets forty-five minutes of intervention from a trained Dyslexia specialist each school day. And the one thing her teacher has instilled in her about the summer is to read, read, read.
My daughter, not unlike most people, loves a good story. She is highly imaginative and creative. She often times makes up her own dialogue for at home puppet shows. Comedy routines are her (and our) favorites. She will spend hours setting up her bedroom to look like a classroom and enjoy acting out a day at school with her younger siblings.
With her challenges in reading, just lifting the words up off of the paper and decoding the text is a feat in of itself. Dyslexia does not allow her the privilege of easily perusing the text allowing her imagination the freedom to run away into the depths of a fantastical world.
No, for her, comprehension is a struggle because—let’s be honest—when it takes you a few minutes to read through a sentence—by the time you have finished decoding the text, you have most likely forgotten the beginning of the sentence.
I know fluency will come with time. She has made such great progress since she was diagnosed 8 months ago. I don’t want her to regress or get “rusty” with her reading. So I have decided to find ways to keep her engaged in reading through the summer months.
Here are some ideas and strategies that you should use to show your child that the pleasure and reward from reading outweighs the effort put in by a landslide.
***The first and most important thing to consider are your child’s interests.***
Think about their interests. What makes your child tick? What can they talk on and on about without you asking? Are they technical, mechanical, like to understand how the human body works? Or, are they fascinated with history? Do they love imaginary play and creating projects? It is vital to match their interests to their reading material.
Here are suggestions for books in a few different categories of interest. Each category may have a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Some categories overlap.
Book Lists: (Affiliate Links)
Summer Strategies for Getting Kids Engaged and Excited About Reading:
1. Two For One Deal!
For every 10 minutes they read aloud you will read 20 minutes aloud of whatever book they want. A little bit of effort for them, and double the return. Depending on the reading level of your child, you may read a totally different book to them that they would enjoy but is out of their reach just yet. You can still get EZ Reader books in all subjects. It is important for them to read on their level and be read to on a higher level.
2. Audio Books:
Listening to a book while following along in the text gives them a more laid back experience with reading. They will strengthen their reading skills and begin to enjoy reading. The key point is to have them follow along with the text as it is read aloud. There are several website/services to make this easy for you and your child.
Amazon’s version of an audible Kindle. Get two books for free with your free trial—Otherwise $14.95/month
More than 50,000 audio books geared toward blind, dyslexic, and other kinds of users. Membership is $99 for the year. Fortunately, my child’s school district purchases this membership for all students identified with dyslexia. Her dyslexia specialist set up her account and gave us the login information.
Similar to Learning Ally, it is free to any student who can provide proof of dyslexia. I was actually allowed to sign up for a free account for my daughter by giving them our Learning Ally information to verify.
-Your Local Library:
A great free way to get audio versions of books.
3. Have You Seen It?
Find a movie or video series that you know they would love that is based on a book or book series. Read the book together then let them watch the movie. Have a discussion with them after she views the movie highlighting the differences and/or similarities between the two. I have created a free printable discussion worksheet for you and your child.
List of books turned into movies:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
4. Remember this?
Create a memory book or scrapbook of the different books they read during the summer. Allow them to unleash their creativity and make these memory books using any materials they wish.
Traditional Paper scrapbooks or digital scrapbooks like these
If you would like a free printable scrapbook template to get you started, I have created one for you.
Dyslexic kids are often just exposed to the books that are on their reading level. And unfortunately, those easy reader level books are often not the most intriguing. So, if a child believes that this (not so exciting early reader books) is the most interesting books get, then they walk away disenchanted with reading.
As parents of dyslexic children, we always strive to provide our children with the most support possible to encourage a lifetime love of learning. You know your child best, so take the opportunity to find books your child will fall in love with and they will be well on their way to treasure summer reading. And for that matter, reading year-round.