Summer Reading 101

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For younger readers, grades K to 6, read out loud. Encouraging your children to read aloud will help develop their reading fluency and build their confidence as readers.

When school is out, the last thing many kids want to do is pick up another book. However, reading is one of the most important activities children can do now to help themselves later in life.

"With the majority of U.S. fourth-grade students reading below the proficient level, the summer months are critical for student learning," said Meredith Curley, Dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix. "By engaging in fun reading activities during the summer months, parents not only have the opportunity to encourage learning, but to motivate their children to develop a lifelong love of reading."

Curley offers these tips for parents and caregivers to incorporate reading into everyday activities.

To learn about University of Phoenix education programs visit www.phoenix.edu.

For Younger Readers (grades K to 6)

* Read out loud. Encouraging your children to read aloud will help develop their reading fluency and build their confidence as readers.

* Let them play. Games and activities played on electronic devices provide many opportunities to engage children with words and letters. Spelling games, word games and matching games can help children build reading proficiency and comprehension.

* Turn them into storytellers. Have your child read a book and then retell the story. If he or she has trouble, help by asking the five Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why.

* Hone their critical thinking skills. Help your children build critical thinking skills by asking them questions, such as what they think about something that happens in a story, or if they have experienced something like that before.

* Turn a library visit into an adventure. Make an ordinary trip to the public library an adventure for your child by selecting a topic to research. For instance, set out to learn everything you can about your hometown, animals or space.

Choosing Books - A simple rule of thumb for choosing an appropriate book is called the Five Finger Rule. Let your children pick out books that interest them. Have them read 100 words from the book, asking them to raise one finger for each word they don't know. If the child raises more than five fingers, the book is probably too difficult.

For Tween and Teen Readers

A recent National Endowment of the Arts reading study found that while 54 percent of 9-year-olds read for pleasure, the number drops to 30 percent for 13-year-olds, and only 22 percent for 17-year-olds.

Here are some ideas to help tweens and teens rediscover the pleasure of reading:

* Have them write. Teens can submit book reviews to sites such as www.YABooksCentral.com. This is a great way to combine reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

* Let them check out graphic novels. There are some high-quality titles available that deal with a wide range of subjects that will appeal to girls and boys and can be a great way to engage reluctant readers.

* Look for book-to-film novels. If teens have seen the movie, they might be willing to read the book. If you read it too, then you can talk about the differences between the two versions such as why the filmmakers might have made certain changes, etc.

Choosing Books - Teens tend to want to read what their peers are reading, so check out websites such as www.GoodReads.com, or www.TeenReads.com, or teen book review blogs such as www.TheBookCellarx.com.

Courtesy of Family Features content