If you have children in kindergarten through 5th grade, you likely received a summer reading list with the last report card of the year. If you’re like most parents, you tossed it aside as you packed your bags for the beach or the first day of summer camp and thought “We have plenty of time for that!”Although September seems far away, it is important to dig that list out and help your child get started on required reading, as well as checking out the suggested titles for his or her grade. The purpose of summer reading in the elementary school years is to maintain your child’s reading skills, such as decoding words, comprehension of text, and making inferences or predictions about the text. It is also meant to foster a love of reading that educators know is crucial for success in school.You don’t have to be a reading specialist to address common reading skills your child needs to maintain over the summer. For example, to practice decoding words, ask your child “What sound does this letter make?” Help him sound out unfamiliar words. You can check for comprehension after reading by asking “Wh” questions such as “Where did the main character live?” or “Who is the main character’s friend?” This ensures they retained the main details of the story.

You can also work on making inferences about the story by asking questions not directly answered in the text. For example, “How do you think he was feeling after he had a fight with his friend?” guides your child to use clues from the story as well as his own experiences to draw a logical conclusion. Remember to have fun! Summer reading is an enjoyable way to support your child’s academic and social growth while away from the classroom.