By Sarah Fudin
Summertime is synonymous with vacation and summer-time reading lists, but finding the right book can be a challenge as the possibilities are endless. Sometimes learners aren’t sure what they want to read because they haven’t had the experience of enjoying a good book.
Reading is an important building block for all students and summer is a great time to dive in. Many lists exist, but a great place to begin is with a fun, visual flowchart. Here you will find an exciting and visual path to the next great book waiting to be read. Simply make a few choices, and you’re off! A summer reading list, however, is just part of the journey towards helping a learner become a proficient reader.
Set a Good Example
One of the best ways you can encourage reading is to set a good example. When a learner sees a role model reading on a consistent basis, he or she is more likely to form a connection with reading. Whether at school or home, keeping plenty of books available also reinforces the importance of reading and creates more reading opportunities. Magazine subscriptions are a great way to encourage reluctant readers. Find out what your learner is interested in and help him or her choose a magazine subscription. Subscriptions are great because they contain lots of graphics and learners will look forward to them each month.
Make a Reading-Friendly Environment
Creating a reading environment that includes daily reading time is also an import part of cultivating reading success. Reading times are more successful when a healthy environment for reading is present. A reading corner can help define reading time, and it’s important to keep out distractions such as TVs, computers and video games. Different approaches should be incorporated so that learners can discover their strengths and also be exposed to different formats, and this includes both reading aloud and silently. Additionally, dramatizing different parts of the story through skits can be a great way to make reading fun and interesting. At the end of each reading session, leave time for discussion and check for comprehension.
Visit the Library
A great resource for every reader can be found at the local library. Libraries offer a variety of programs that support and encourage both beginning and advanced readers. For many young learners, getting their first library card is an exciting day. It’s important to make library visits something to look forward to and enjoy. Planning visits on a regular basis and attending events that are of interest can help create excitement. Many libraries also offer weekly story times that are appealing to younger readers and book events, such as signings, for older readers.
Lend a Helping Hand When it comes time to select a book, learners should be given both choice and guidance. Learners should be guided through the process, especially when they are first developing their own reading habits. Ask questions about what they like, and help them look through books and read the covers for more information. Classics are great, but if your learner reaches for something more basic, don’t be discouraging. According to the reading guidelines by the National Education Association, the important principle is that learners are reading.
Reading is a skill that, if cultivated, can create a lifetime of opportunity and enjoyment. Reading opens the doors to broader thoughts and experiences. However, reading is a journey that takes preparation and work. When left on their own, beginner readers often won’t be able to develop the reading skills they will need to engage and challenge their reading throughout their lives.
It is important to reflect on your reading approach and ask yourself whether you are meeting your learner’s reading needs. “Are You Turning a Child into a Reluctant Reader” is a useful article that gives some good tips for developing a healthy approach to reading. Many insightful resources are also available online, including reading guidelines for all age groups.
As summer vacation approaches, remember: It’s a great time to cultivate reading success!
Sarah Fudin works at an education company where she manages the community relations for the George Washington University’s online MPH degree, an innovative program that allows students to take public health courses online.