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Managing the dreaded ‘summer reading list’

 submitted by Dr. Liz McCaffrey, M.Ed., Psy.D, therapist, MKPlus, mkplusnewtown.com

Night before school starts. “Oh no, I forgot to do my summer reading!”

Summer offers parents and students a welcome break from the pressure of daily homework, and studying.

Late in July or August parents begin planning for school to resume and remember the summer reading list.

Often this thought is accompanied by a feeling of dread.  Dread at the idea that summer is coming to an end and, “What is the summer reading list!”

Here are some strategies and suggestions to encourage your students to begin and complete their summer work: 

*Get the list. Decide what materials you need, borrow them from the library or purchase.

*When the materials arrive sit down together with the assignment and review the directions. You will have to review the directions several times. Summer brains are different than school brains.

*Together, organize materials. Identify a specific place for them to be kept.

*Post a calendar that your student can easily access. Label vacation times or other plans on the calendar. Label the first day of school. Count number of days to complete work. This provides a visual structure of the time frame for completion.

*Help your student identify good times of the day to work. Perhaps begin with a routine of 20 minutes twice a day. Maybe make it a family reading time.

*Monitor progress by asking about what is happening in the story. If your child says nothing new is happening, offer to read a chapter. Alternating reading is a great strategy.  Supplementing with audiobooks is not cheating and improves comprehension while increasing vocabulary.  Don’t forget movies and plays.

*Celebrate accomplishments! Mark accomplishments like daily reading, chapter or book completion on the calendar. It is visual motivation. Kids work for rewards! Offer some.