100 Mile House Elementary hosted a presentation by Joy Gammie, a learning support coordinator for School District 27, on June 18 to give information to parents on how to keep children reading over the summer.
“When you’re reading with your kids at home I really stress that you don’t make them sound out every word. You want to make it enjoyable,” she said, before adding a kid’s interest has a lot of stake in getting them to read. “Finding out what they’re interested in at that age and finding books around that.”
She also provided different ways to teach young students how to read or improve on it, such as completing a picture walk-through of the book before reading, then discussing or predicting what will happen in the book. A parent should track the print with their finger and ask questions before, during and after the reading aloud and also point out details in the illustrations. Parents should also use different voices for the characters.
Other variations include having the kid echoing a sentence or page back to the parent, or both of them reading aloud at the same time.
Some other tactics to improve family literacy is writing notes, e-mails, texts or letters to each member every day, having a kid follow a recipe while helping with cooking, playing board and words games together at least once a week and visiting the library or local bookstore together.
Gammie said there is no certain demographic that struggles with reading, instead it comes down to how much importance and value a student’s family puts on reading.
“I have six kids,” said Gammie, using her own family as an example.
“The boys didn’t really see dad reading a lot so they didn’t read a lot. Once they realized he had to read for his log book and read for the different things he was doing and I sat down and said you actually have to sit down and read like the newspaper so the kids can actually see you reading, the boys started to read more.”
She said that really busy families should try to take at least five minutes before bed to read to settle down the kids to teach them the value of reading and to get the electronics out of their hands before bed.
Electronics aren’t really a bad thing in terms of reading if utilized properly though, according to Gammie.
She said parents could capitalize on learning programs on computers and I-Pads with teachable moments, but if it’s used as an electronic babysitter then it’s not ideal.
There are several books geared towards a young kid’s reading level. Beginner level books often found in schools can be found online and at the local book store.
The Cariboo Regional District Library branch in 100 Mile House also has a reading program during the summer, where kids can read, create crafts and do other fun activities once a week.