It was the first week of July when I began to see Back To School supplies filling up store shelves…I could not believe it! As a teacher trying to enjoy every minute of summer holidays, I ignored the Back to School flyers and tv commercials for weeks. Instead I basked in the sun with a stack of good books!
However, as the Labour Day weekend looms, it is now impossible to deny the fact that summer is coming to an end. I can imagine that my love for unstructured summer days is a common sentiment felt by many families and parents. But, as we begin to face our last days of summer holidays, I am here to share some quick and easy Back to School parent tips to help prepare you and your child get back into literacy mode.
Have realistic expectations: As Hoot Reading shared with you in June, it is common that students will experience the ‘Summer Slide’ in some way, shape or form. I am sure that most children read throughout the summer (hopefully with our talented Hoot Teachers!), however, it is likely that they did not read in the amount, depth, and intensity that they do during the school year. So, when you sit down with your child to read at the end of August, be prepared that they may have more challenges then you recall from the end of the school year. Do not fear – when they get back to the grind of school and daily reading, their reading skills will come back in full force!
Have a positive and encouraging attitude: Help to build your child’s confidence and love for reading by giving authentic and specific feedback, such as , “Wow! I love how you figured out that new word by thinking about what makes sense!” or “You read with such fluency and expression! It makes me so much more interested in the story! Keep it up!”. When your child hears what they are doing well, they are motivated to read, feel good about their skills, and are more likely to take risks in their reading.
Create a special reading routine: Begin to build in designated time for reading each day before school begins. This can be a nightly story time, creating a cozy reading nook in the house for you and your child (a space with minimal distractions and technology), or listening to your child read as you prepare for supper. Use this time to rebuild a love for literacy and to enjoy good books!
Be a reading role model: Read books at the beach, cottage or as you cozy up on the couch. When your child sees you read, they will be inspired to read as well! Children are products of their environment and emulate what they observe. If children see their role models solely playing video games or watching TV, they will be less likely to choose books in their own free time.
Get back into routine and schedules: Early mornings and walks to the bus stops will be happening before we know it! Begin to settle into your school year routine by setting earlier bedtime and wake up schedules. Rest is essential to productivity and learning in the school environment. Furthermore, reading and literacy blocks often take place first thing in the morning. Ensure that your child doesn’t miss out on prime literacy opportunities by ensuring that they are properly rested and ready to learn!
I hope that these tips are useful to you as you enjoy your last of the lazy summer days. Use this time to create end of summer memories, but also to get excited for another year of fun and learning!