Get Back To Reading After The Holiday Break
As a teacher, I know how difficult it can be to make the shift between break and getting back into the “learning mode” especially after a long break.
Whether you take off a couple of weeks or a whole month, getting back into the
groove of reading lessons after winter break can be a little bumpy. The winter break is important for parents and our children’s mental and emotional well-being, but the return to academic life can be jarring– especially in challenging subjects like reading and writing. So how does a parent set a child up for a successful return to the books? Here are some ideas to help your child(ren) get back to reading after the break.
First, let’s first consider these 3 Rs-
Review, Routine & Recognize Progress
Following the break, take time to review the steps to your reading instruction routine with your child. Such an important step especially for those with reading difficulties who truly thrive on the repetition and review built into a structured literacy program. Going over this structure will help them get back into “learning mode.”
What a great time to review goals and expectations for reading instruction, as well as take time to recognize how far they have come with their reading since the fall.
Recognizing your child’s progress can become an informal review of the sounds and skills they've learned thus far. Older children can review and reset their own reading goals for the rest of the school year. Together you can brainstorm and write down some goals that will motivate them the rest of the year.
Here's some Reading Goals to get you started.
· I will read X number of nonfiction books.
· I will pick a new topic every month and read about it.
· I will read a book by a new author every month.
· I will read X number of books in a specific genre.
· I will read for X minutes every night.
· I will read a chapter every night.
· Re-read confusing or difficult passages.
· I will look up unfamiliar words in the books I am reading
Allowing your children the opportunity to review steps, routines, and recognizing the progress they have made gives them the mental capacity, time, and space to get back into reading with greater success and less resistance. As an added bonus they also become collaborators in their own education. This increases engagement much more than simply being told they have to get back to schoolwork.
Discuss-and Write-About Break
Children usually have a lot to say about what happened over their winter break. So harness that energy with an entertaining conversation about it. Even if you’re homeschooling and had your child with you the whole break, your child’s answers may surprise you. Here are some less-common questions to get you started.
Something really tasty or juicy you tried over break?
A great surprise you had during your break?
Something really fun that you did with your family inside and outside?
A bedtime story you loved?
One of the nicest gifts you gave to someone?
You can keep it as a simple short discussion or you can turn it into a writing activity. Pre- writers can draw their response and beginning writers can write a few words they know. You can help more skilled writers summarize and condense their responses or add some vivid verbs.
Not only will this get your child's brain working again it will also give them something structured to work on. An added benefit is you now have a keepsake to add to their collection!
Review with a Game
Sound Scavenger Hunt
A quick way to measure retention without making it feel like a test is to turn it into a game, that is multisensory and engaging. It is a creative way to assess their knowledge while having fun.
Write out the letters and sounds your child has learned on pieces of paper and create a path with them. They can walk, hop, or jump along the path to review the sounds. You can even put a surprise at the end of the path!
You can also take a “sound scavenger hunt” outside. Give your child a sheet with 6-12 letters or a combination of letters on it. Ask your child to find things that begin with the sounds of those letters. Try pointing out an object and ask about the sounds in the word. For example: “I see a cloud! What sound do you hear at the beginning of ‘cloud’? What sound is at the end of ‘cloud’? Do you hear the /ow/ sound in ‘cloud’?” They can check them off as they find them.
Make it Physical
There are so many skills you can review just by bouncing a ball. Start by picking a word, then thinking of rhyming words as you bounce the ball back and forth. Your child can also break up the syllables in a word by bouncing the ball once for every syllable or break up the sounds in each word by bouncing the ball for each sound they hear.
I know that it may feel repetitive to go over things you have covered already, but if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a firm believer in using a child’s past success to help them move forward. This is the perfect time to do just that.
These fun and simple ideas are as much for you as your child. Making time for review, playing games, and settling back in not only helps your child have a smooth transition back to reading instruction but takes some pressure off of you as a parent, caregiver, or homeschooler.
What You Need is Important Too
While you focus on helping your child get back to reading after winter break, it’s easy to overlook the fact that you are adjusting as well. This is a wild school year, and you may not feel ready to dive back in. Take a step back and extend the same grace to yourself as you would to your child and family.
These fun and simple ideas are as much for you as your child. Making time for review, games, and settling back in not only helps your child have a smooth transition back to reading instruction but takes some pressure off of you as a parent, caregiver, or homeschooler.
Using a Structured Literacy Program like Bright Futures Reading System helps make transitioning for parents and children alike quick, easy, and less stressful. It gives you not only a great sequence of instruction but provides so many ideas and resources to make learning active, fun, and meaningful.
Having a parent who is relaxed, enjoying themselves, and in the present moment while teaching or learning is one of the most important factors in helping a student thrive. Contact Early Readers Academy today if you’re interested in learning more about a program that works great for parents, homeschoolers, and teachers year-round.
Please don’t leave without checking out the Bright Futures Reading System a reading curriculum that is used by teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents worldwide with great success. (Choose USA or Canada site).
I want to see you get off to a great start as you get back to a new year with teaching your child, so I hope these tips will help you as you head back.
Do you have any methods you find help getting back into the school routine? Comment below!