Summer reading. Can’t you just picture kicking back with a light read and a glass of lemonade? And, there’s no doubt that beach books can be a great way to keep kids reading too. But, if you want to challenge them a bit, follow our tips that take in mind the Common Core standards for English which emphasizes reading comprehension. We promise these are easy to put into practice and should be fun for your kids!
Tip One: Actively read. Sound like a drag? It doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as spending five short minutes after each chapter jotting down the main themes and plot points. Have the notes include two questions about the chapter (in a separate document) that your child can use when the book is done to test their comprehension. You can even do a quick quiz at the dinner table. Make it more fun when each right answer earns an extra topping at the fro-yo shop.
Tip Two: Compare and contrast. This is a favorite exercise in school, and there’s a reason for it: comparing and contrasting is one of the most important skills in comprehension. Choose a book that has a movie version and watch the movie together after reading the book. Have your child give you five examples of ways that the movie and book were different. Really have them dig deep to come to their conclusions. Have a tween girl? Try Jane Austen’s “Emma” on which the movie “Clueless” is loosely based. Tween boys will love “The Outsiders.”
Tip Three: Learn new vocabulary. The new standards will have an increased emphasis on vocabulary and reading is the best way to master new words. Studying word lists or flash cards might help you learn the definition, but they don’t provide any context or nuances. And that’s where the new standards will focus rather than just remotely memorizing definitions. So have your child pick three words from each reading session that they weren’t familiar with before. Challenge your entire family to use these new “words of the week” in conversations. Common core reading can help your child grow their vocabulary this summer and jump start a new family tradition!
Tip Four: Discuss the book. That’s essentially what these new standards call for; discussing a book’s themes in depth and analyzing how and why the characters take specific actions. See if you can convince a couple of your child’s friends (and their moms!) to participate in a book club. Make it fun with a themed dinner or snack to go with the book.
Summer reading should be fun, but it can be a learning experience too, without being too intrusive. These four easy tips will help your child practice common core reading skills they’ll need when they head back to the classroom come fall.