How to Support Your Child Identified with Dyslexia During Summer Break
Ahhhh… summer. Time for lazy summer days, swim lessons, cookouts, late nights, and even later wake-ups. It’s a time for our students (and let’s face it, instructors and parents as well) to sit back and recharge before the next school year.
During this time, how can our students identified with dyslexia be supported without overwhelming them? How can the summer slump be avoided? Or can it?
What Is The Summer Slump?
Traditionally, the summer slump or summer slide is a time when we see students regress in some of the academic skills they have gained during the previous school year. This is indicated by the BOY testing for the next grade level once students return to campus. On average, students lose the equivalent of one month during the summer in academic performance. It’s not unexpected and typically, teachers are well-prepared to spend the first few weeks of a new school year sharpening past skills before new grade-level content is introduced. The summer slump is much more pronounced in students identified with dyslexia. Let’s explore some steps you can take to help support your students without overwhelming them.
Focus on Their Strengths
Everybody’s good at something. Take this time to allow your child to explore what they like to do- whether it’s art, constructing Lego sets, sports- whatever it may be. Find the time for them to develop other areas they may have an interest in and allow them to explore them further. They may discover a love of something new! Focusing on strengths will only help build their confidence, which can spill over into other areas of their lives, including academics.
Incorporating just the right amount of structure and fun is a sure-fire way to help your child get ready for the upcoming school year
Continue to Build Listening Comprehension
Whenever parents would ask me how they can support their child identified with dyslexia, I would always say, “Read!”. Read to your child daily. Allow them to listen to audiobooks on long car rides, and let the child read books at their level and at their own pace. Go to the library and check out books. Enroll in a summer reading program. All of these things will help motivate and encourage additional connections to other books. If your child sees and hears you enjoying a book, it might pique their interest as well.
Use of Technology
Technology, in the right amount, can help develop needed academic skills, all while supporting their specific needs. Allow your child to work on keyboarding skills through creative writing. Many students enjoy using PowerPoint or google slides to import pictures and create personalized picture books. Or encourage their creativity by using a speech-to-text app for creative writing. They will love to see what they can create and you will be amazed by their creativity as well.
Sneak Some Informal Learning In
Reading and learning don’t always have to be done in a formal fashion. The following is a list of fun activities you can do with your child. Your child will have fun with you AND learn simultaneously.
- Make cookies and have your child read the recipe and instructions
- Look over the stats from your favorite sports team
- Encourage your child to research things to do on your next vacation
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Read and explain the instructions for a new board game
- Help them find a play to read and perform
- Ask them to read the grocery list at the store
- Sit down to write a summer bucket list
Establish A Schedule and Stick to It!
It’s easy to sleep in every day or stay up late during the summer. Some of that is good. But a lack of a schedule can backfire. It can be difficult to get back on track and, in turn, that can create a great deal of tension when the school year starts back up again. Your summer bedtime schedule doesn’t have to resemble your school schedule, but it shouldn’t be drastically different either. Conversely, overplanning can backfire too. Running from soccer camp to volleyball camp, to scout camp can wear out your child. When it is time to settle in and read, they will be overwrought and uncooperative. Plan wisely, but be sure your child is able to enjoy the time spent in extracurricular activities.
Summer breaks are a great way to recharge from the structure of school. But academics should not be completely thrown to the wind during summer break. Incorporating just the right amount of structure and fun is a surefire way to help your child get ready for the upcoming school year.