If your home is at all like mine during the summer, you’re constantly thinking and dreaming up activities to keep your kids engaged. No, not every second – free play is great for the imagination! BUT having a few rainy day activities or fun learning games in your tool belt certainly helps ward off the potential for arguments and fights that come with “boredom.”
AND … since we know your kids have already begun their back to school countdown (kidding!!!), we thought we’d gear our suggestions toward language acquisition to help them dust the cobwebs off of their L2. So, we’re launching a mini-series called add.an.activity!
We’ll try to vary our suggestions so that some are literature based, some cover content area activities, and others are great for those rainy days when we need to pull out a screen for just a few moments.
We begin the series with a list of ways to incorporate reading into your summer routine.
connecting with the classroom
add.a.lingua suggests developing thirty minutes at the beginning of each day for “summer school work.” By providing children with regular opportunities for reading, writing, and developing math skills, parents can ensure that students maintain what they have learned during the school year.
read aloud together
We encourage parents to read aloud to their children of ANY age in English or the primary home language. Even fourth and fifth grade students appreciate an ongoing bedtime story from a favorite chapter book. During read-aloud times, parents can explain the meaning of new vocabulary, talk about different characters within the story, and discuss how the book relates to their children’s lives. A rich vocabulary gained in this way, regardless of language, prepares students to better handle the academic language used in school settings.
read silently alone
Once children are comfortable reading on their own in the immersion language and English, add.a.lingua encourages parents to provide children with an array of appropriate reading level books in both languages. Reading specialists EMPHASIZE the importance of instilling a love of reading independently in children.
By providing developmentally appropriate reading books, parents can avoid their children becoming frustrated with too many unknown vocabulary words or concepts that need adult explanation. Avoiding frustration in the early stages of reading allows students to experience the JOY of reading. Allowing children to choose what types of books they want to read, even when the chosen books “appear” as if they might be too easy, can boost confidence and foster a love of reading in both languages.
listen to audiobooks
Some children like to move and engage in activities, such as constructing with Legos, while listening to stories, poetry, or music. Providing audiobooks in the immersion language or in English allows students who may not want to sit still reading to themselves to engage with different genres and the language within them.
Many reading skills transfer between languages (Interdependence Hypothesis, Cummins, 1997). Parents or caregivers DO NOT NEED TO WORRY about which language books children choose to read at home. If families want to further their children’s proficiency in the immersion language, however, add.a.lingua suggests encouraging summer book clubs facilitated by an immersion teacher, listening to audiobooks in the L2, or engaging with the local target culture community.
resources for Spanish books
- local library (Spanish section)
- Scholastic en español
- Barnes and Noble (Spanish section)
- Santillana publishing company
If you have favorite ways to keep your kids engaged in reading over the summer, feel free to comment below or send us your ideas via our Facebook page. Happy reading!