Summer is a wonderful time for family fun. Playing sports, going on vacation and spending long days at the shore gives your children much-needed down time, but what happens in September when your child goes back to school? Commonly, the first few weeks back to school in the fall is spent re-teaching information forgotten by the students over the summer.
The summer and its lack of structure can contribute to children’s resistance to reading, exploring academic topics and generally exercising their brains. A certain amount of structure is a good thing according to Richard Selznick, Ph.D., Director of The Cooper Learning Center, and author of The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child.
“You may want to try and make learning part of your routine. Taking your children to the libraryat a set time, for example: 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., three or four days a week may help get them into the mindset and routine of learning in the summer,” Dr. Selznick said in answer to a question during his Health eTalk last week on cooperhealth.org.
Libraries are wonderful locations to get all of us into the mood to stretch our minds. Dr. Selznick suggests that you talk to the librarians who are experts in identifying just what topics a child might be interested in reading. Is it sports? Is it babysitting? Is it animal stories? The librarians can help find just the right books.
Did you also know that taking your child outside can improve their reading comprehension? “Anything that builds their knowledge base leads to improved comprehension and understanding,” said Dr. Selznick.
Reading isn’t the only way for children to keep their brains active. You might ask your child to do some task related to planning an outing or family vacation. For example, a youngster might help map out the route you use when planning a driving trip. Taking photographs and/or writing a journal or postcard messages while on a trip can also help stimulate learning this summer.
If your children seem hooked on TV or electronic games, Dr. Selznick recommends using those activities (e.g., going to the library, nature hikes, etc.) to negotiate with your child.
“It should be give and take. For example, the child reads for an hour, four days a week, and you take them somewhere fun,” he suggests. “Really it’s not a lot to ask that they spend some time reading, especially if they are just laying around watching TV or playing video games.”
Most important, Dr. Selznick says, “Be strong! If they whine, and complain, don’t be so willing to cater to their demands. Help them see the “give and you get” mentality.”
Space Still Available at the Summer Reading Camp
Here’s an excellent way to encourage children’s reading skills. Available for children ages 5 to 12, the Cooper Learning Center provides a four-week camp in Voorhees from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon. There is still space available in our August camp which begins July 27 to August 20.
The children are organized in small groups according to age and ability. For 5- to 6-year-olds we have the Rookie Readers program. This addresses emerging reading skills in young children. This program enhances young readers’ ability to read in a whole language or phonics-based program targeting: phonemic awareness, letter and sound knowledge, auditory discrimination, sound blending and segmentation, and listening skills.
For 7- to 12-year-olds there is Beginning and Advanced Decoders. The decoders’ program uses multi-sensory instruction emphasizing phonemic awareness, phonological decoding, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension strategies. This program focuses on building decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension skills.
Click here for more information on these reading camps or to make an appointment, please call 856.673.4900.