“Summer Slide,” or the loss of skill over a prolonged time away from regular, routine learning is very common among struggling readers. Parents of struggling readers can help their children maintain their skills by exercising the strategy of paired reading over summer break.
Paired reading is a research-based fluency strategy used with readers who struggle with fluency, and is perfect for summer reading at home. Share this blog with your parents before school ends, or send home a note with simple step-by-step pointers for them to follow. They’ll thank you for it.
It is generally recommended that parents read with their children for at least five minutes per day. Paired reading can be used with any book, taking turns reading by sentence, paragraph, page or chapter. For best results, have the child select the reading material, or parents may select age-appropriate books with topics that interest their children—whichever works. The point is to read on a regular basis.
Practice what you preach.
•Both you and your child read the words out loud together. Read at the child’s speed. You are modeling good reading for your child.
•For young readers, as you read together, read every word. To make sure your child is looking at the words, one of you points to the word you are reading with a finger or card. It’s best if your child does the pointing.
•When a word is read incorrectly, you say the word correctly, and then have your child immediately repeat the word.
•Show interest in the book your child has chosen. Talk about the pictures. Talk about what’s in the book as you go through it. It is best if you talk at the end of a page or section, or your child might lose track of the story. Ask what things might happen next. Listen to your child – don’t do all the talking.
Make the Time.
•Try very hard to do Paired Reading every day for 5 minutes. If your child wants to read longer, a total of 15 minutes is long enough.
•Select a time that is good for both you and your child. Don’t make him do Paired Reading when he really wants to do something else.
•For days when you are not available, train someone else to be a substitute. Grandparents, older brothers and sisters, aunts, and baby-sitters can be excellent reading role models, too.
Choose a Quiet Place.
•Find a room with no distracting sounds. Children are easily sidetracked by noise. Turn off the T.V.
•Find a place that is private. No one else should be in the room. Many families find this a great opportunity for one parent or grandparent to spend time with just one child.
•Find a place that is comfortable so both of you can concentrate on the story without having to shift around. This will help to associate warm and snuggly feelings with reading.
When to Encourage Reading Alone.
•When you are reading together, allow your child to read alone when he feels confident and wants to. Agree on a way for him/her to signal you to stop reading along. This could be a knock, squeeze, or tap with the elbow. (Saying “be quiet” or similar words might make your child lose track of the meaning of the story.) When signaled, you immediately stop reading aloud and feel glad that your child wants to be an independent reader!
It’s never too late in the year to try something new. For more interesting ways to engage readers, download our Best Practices Guide for Reading Comprehension, today!