Friday, May 15, 2015


Many parents of grade school children, especially children who struggle with reading and writing, express concern that their young ones will fall behind or lose traction with their skills during the summer months.

Here are 5 strategies to keep your child connected with reading and writing in ways that are fun, pleasurable, and meaningful to them. 

Approach these activities, as well as your child's overall literacy development, with a tone of relaxed encouragement.  Doing so will set the stage for them to flourish!  

1.  Visit your local library.  A library can be an oasis of calm, order, and, cool in the midst of summer heat.  Many libraries have summer reading programs for children, so ask your librarian what they have planned.  

Let your child make choices about what they want to read, even if a book seems too easy or too difficult.  Allow them to pursue the topics, authors, and genres that catch their interest.  Don't worry if your child wants to read a book multiple times;  it means that they are enjoying it.  There's pleasure in repetition. We adults read books that we love more than once, as well!

2.  Pick chapter books together and read them out loud to your child/ren.  I have great memories of being on camping trips with my family, and sitting on big rocks in the sun while my mom read A Wizard of Earthsea to us.  On another trip, my dad read Stuart Little.  Being read to is such a treat, and keeps children connected to the pleasures of good literature.

You can also have a lot of fun by acting out books in a charade-like fashion,

3.  Create a Writer's Box.  Fill a box or a drawer with a variety of materials that children can dig into to engage in lots of different writing projects. This idea is particularly great if you live in small living quarters.  You can use a large Tupperware container, or whatever is handy.  Consider including any of these items in your box:  Different sizes of notepads; loose-leaf paper; construction paper; 3 by 5 cards; pens, pencils and markers; stapler; tape; glitter glue; glue stick; stickers; ruler; stamps; envelopes; return address labels; magazines for cutting out images and text.

What else could you add?  Get creative!

4.  Keep a Summer Scrapbook.  Tape or glue photos, mementos, and found objects from your summer adventures into a book that you buy or make.  A simple 3-ring binder will do! Label your photos and mementos; make simple journal entries about what you do each day.  Your child can do the writing herself or dictate the words to you.  (There's great power in them getting to see the relationship between the spoken and the written word.)

5.  Write Letters - Summer is an ideal time to sit down and write postcards, letters, and cards to relatives and far-away friends. Pull out that Writer's Box and let people know about what your family has been up to!

Summer Literacy Tutoring with Eleanor Traubman

Would you like one-on-one literacy tutoring for your child this summer?  I customize sessions to reflect your child's individual interests and draw out their strengths. 

About Eleanor 

Eleanor is a seasoned educator, community-builder, and arts and culture writer. An alumna of the Bank Street College of Education, Eleanor has spent the last 25 years working with young people and families in private and public schools, nonprofit education organizations, and museum settings including P.S. 29, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.  As Editor-In-Chief of the arts blog Creative Times, Eleanor has interviewed world-loved children's book author/illustrators, as well as original cast and crew members of Sesame Street. Eleanor fosters young people's literacy development by providing creative, project-based opportunities for them to read and write for a real-world audience about topics and for purposes which hold personal meaning for them.  
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