Expert strategies for making summer reading fun, and for building retention, comprehension, and creative muscles with every chapter.
by Liz Matheis
Book is practically a four-letter word for most kids during summer vacation. Yet, as a parent, you know that your child needs to maintain the important abstract skills that come with reading a story, comprehending it, predicting what’s next, and connecting with the characters.
So, how do you encourage your child to read at a time when schoolwork feels like a distant and bad memory? Here are some strategies:
Your child with ADHD may not want to sit down and read quietly, but no one said she can’t read out loud! Create an audience of real people or stuffed animals and allow your child to read out loud — in creative voices, if she likes. In doing so, your child is not only seeing the words and reading them, but also hearing them. By using multiple senses, attention and interest are maintained — and information has a better chance of being consolidated into long-term memory.
After she finishes each chapter, encourage your child to act out the book she’s reading. Wear costumes, adopt accents, and act out the scenes with her — or serve as a willing audience. Remember, your child thinks in video and pictures, not words. Concepts and information make sense when they are part of a bigger picture. Discrete elements don’t make a ton of sense unless they are connected to the whole, and this process helps to do just that.
Encourage your child to draw a picture depicting the action and characters in each chapter of his book. This can be done with crayons/markers and paper, or via computer. Ask your child to depict the colors, smells, and sights that he associates with the story. Memory skyrockets as more senses are engaged in the reading process.
Instead of a written ‘book report’, which we all dread (ADHD or not), allow your child to create a PowerPoint presentation with graphics, music and video! Bring the book to life with images instead of the old school pencil and paper.
Finally, carve out time to read together. Because the only thing better than reading in summer, is doing it with someone you love.