July 26, 2022 | Summer Reading Activities
Summer is usually jammed packed with outdoor activities, vacations, park visits, and get-togethers. Opportunities to build our children’s emergent literacy skills are available in each and every one!
By: Susan Bennett-Armistead
Here are things you can do with your littlest literacy learners during the more relaxed days of summer that will benefit school-age children as well.
Map the Way
Children love maps. Map reading can be as complicated as tracking a long road trip or as simple as following a hiking trail. Map reading skills can be valuable practice for when children need to read to understand meaning, to find words that are often used or to explore a new type (genre) of story or text.
After you’ve had some practice following a map together, invite your children to make treasure maps for each other to find missing surprises. Also invite them to give their clues in writing so they have a chance to use their language skills. Making maps for your children or giving them clues to a treasure hunt can be great fun for everyone.
Building Vocabulary through Games
Rainy days might have you playing board or video games. Sunny days might lure you outside for sports or other game playing. All games have their own vocabulary. There is a large and growing body of research on the value of having larger vocabularies when it comes to reading comprehension and writing skills. Turn vocabulary building into child’s play by making up games that encourage kids to use language.
Try Category Hopscotch
Category Hopscotch is just a regular game of hopscotch using words like sticky, green, dinosaur, food, or transportation, in the boxes instead of numbers. When hopping, the child names something that goes with the category they land on; for instance, sticky might result in candy, syrup, or Jimmy’s hands.
Play I Spy
Use describing words, and go beyond just color words. For example, “I spy something shiny.” The child would need to know what shiny is and find examples of shiny things to guess. Older kids can design the game for younger children. The game Twenty Questions can also lead to great language games.
Since these are only a few of the many fun, simple ways to enjoy reading, writing, drawing, and language games, we invite you to visit Raising Readers’ social media accounts to tell us how you keep literacy alive this summer!
Blog post author Dr. Susan Bennett-Armistead is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Maine. Drawing on 20 years as a preschool teacher, parent educator, program administrator as well as a PHD with an emphasis in early literacy, she speaks nationally to parent groups and educators on the role that families can play in their children’s literacy learning. She has been the early literacy advisor for Raising Readers for many years. She is also the mother of a lot of kids!