Encouraging a Summer of Learning in Your Reluctant Reader
"Who's excited about summer reading?"
I asked the question to the group of middle school students that had trooped into their school library for my visit to their campus. I knew the answer. Students with dyslexia rarely list reading as their favorite way to spend a summer – or any season, for that matter. I know this because my son has dyslexia and I have spent years working with children that have to struggle to decode words and make sense of the written page.
Students with dyslexia rarely list reading as their favorite way to spend a summer – or any season, for that matter.
The faces in front of me were less than awed by my beginning pitch about all the books that were waiting for them at Richland Library. When I talked about graphic novels there was a ripple of interest, but the moment that really caused heads to look up and take note was when I mentioned that “ear reading” was legitimate reading and counted towards the library’s Summer Learning Challenge.
Eye reading (the way we usually think about reading a book) is just one way of many to learn about the world around you. Ear reading is listening to books on audio and it levels the playing field for those with reading challenges.
When I mentioned ear reading, the entire room sat up straighter. Some students even leaned slightly forward in their chairs. I had them now. I went on to talk about the amazing variety of audiobooks and the many ways you can access them. Download them, listen on CD, use a Playaway, and so on.
Even more kids tuned in when I mentioned all of the programs available at the library this summer. Art, music, crafts, and more are part of the programs available and they all count as a point on that Summer Learning record. Finish the record and win prizes.
At this point, the school librarian stepped forward with a special announcement. She explained that the teachers had gotten together and decided that instead of giving these students a list of required summer reading, they were to complete the Summer Learning Challenge as their summer reading for school.
The eyes went wide and then the clapping started. I stepped forward, “NOW, who’s excited about summer reading?” The room erupted in clapping, smiles, and cheers.
A boy looked up at me, “Thank you for making my summer bearable!” He grinned and I smiled back. I knew exactly what he meant.
Have a struggling reader of your own? Make it a family affair. Let your child see you flex your own learning muscles in a fun, approachable way. Learners of all ages can create a work of art, listen to a bestseller, attend a concert, build a birdhouse or curl up with a good book during the Summer Learning Challenge.
Ready to get your child started? Here are a few of our favorite titles for ear reading.
Children's Room Education Studio Reading Specialist