Summer Plans for Supporting Struggling Readers

kids-reading-poetry1Now that summer has arrived, we know parents are looking for activities and ideas to help promote and maintain reading skills for their children and help avoid the “summer slip.”

And when activities are enjoyed, more information is retained. Here are some suggestions for helping your struggling reader get excited about reading, writing and spelling this summer:

1. Read aloud to your child. If you read my posts with any regularity, my passion for reading aloud will come as no surprise to you. Some of the most powerful and influential time you can spend with your child is reading aloud with them, and the extra time in summer (for example, road trips) is the perfect times to captivate your child with the magic of reading. In a previous blog post, I have recommendations for getting the most out of reading aloud with your child. Read more here.

To find the right books to read aloud, I suggest reading Jim Trelease’s classic, The Read-Aloud Handbook. It exposes the benefits and importance of reading aloud to children, and the last part of the Read-Aloud Handbook is an anthology of books that are powerful for reading aloud.

2. Listen to Audiobooks – Use technology to your advantage! The ability to both hear and read text improves reading skills and comprehension, especially for struggling readers, and the proof is in the results. Research shows that audiobooks result in:

  • 76% Improved Reading Comprehension
  • 67% Increased Motivation
  • 61% Improved Self-confidence
  • 60% Improved Attitude Toward Reading
  • 52% Improved Reading Accuracy

Leaning Ally is an incredible source for audiobooks. From textbooks to best-selling novels, Learning Ally offers 75,000 up-to-date audiobook titles. Browse their audiobooks here.

3. Find books that are a good match for your child. Here is a list of book recommendations by the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.

4. Develop your child’s curiosity about words. Team up with your child to investigate a word a week using the word inquiry method, a scientific approach to word study that cements connections between meaning and spelling patterns. To learn how see Pete Bower’s Lexercise Live Broadcast here and read an article from the Lexercise Forums here.  You might get a special notebook (Summer 2013 Word Inquiries) and ask your child to design its cover art. (We’d love it if you’d send us photos of your child’s cover art and also some word sums!)

5. Lexercise Therapy – Our list of summer suggestions for supporting struggling readers would not be complete without suggesting Lexercise Therapy! With our online treatment program, your child gets affordable help from a specially trained Clinical Educator at a time and place that is convenient for you. In a previous Live Broadcast, Lexercise Clinical Educator, Scott Teirnan, Ph. D., [Scott Tiernan, MA.Ed.,] discussed how a little daily practice over the summer break can be used to improve writing skills. Watch it here. To read more about Lexercise Therapy, click here.

If your child struggles with reading, writing or spelling, the most important first step is a professional evaluation. No matter where you live, your child can be tested and treated individually, face-to-face, online, by the clinical educators at Lexercise. Learn more here, or contact me directly at or 1-919-747-4557.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.