Tag Archives: parent resources for summer break

5 Summer Activities to Boost Reading Fluency

22 May

Help students boost summer reading fluency with these 5 interactive fluency activities | A FREE printable for parents is included to support student fluency development. By doing these activities, parents can help their children maintain reading skills and avoid the summer reading regression that usually occurs.

Summer break is a time to recharge, refresh, and relax; however, for many teachers, it’s bittersweet. After an entire year of getting to know your students, guiding them toward personal and academic growth, and investing countless hours helping them to meet their individual learning goals, it’s hard to hand over the reins and stop worrying about their progress.

As I wave (maybe a bit too happily) at all the school buses pulling away on the last day of school, I can’t help but wonder about the fate of my students’ reading growth: I wonder if Sophie will continue to read over the summer. Is Sally going to practice her sight words? How many reading strategies will I have to reteach Bobby in the fall? Will my second graders forget ALL the reading skills they mastered? The “summer slide” is a real thing and the reality is that reading isn’t usually a priority for most students in the summer. So what can we do?

Well… what if we take a few extra steps to prepare our students for the summer? We can introduce ideas and activities that don’t feel like “work” but can help them maintain their reading skills. The students can relax and recharge, too, but without losing sight of their learning progress and goals. We can enlist the support of parents and encourage them to make reading a priority over the summer. We can ask families to make a summer reading plan and work together to prevent students from losing all the valuable skills they developed over the past year. (Sounds magical, right?)

Not sure where to start? I always start with reading fluency. It’s the glue that holds many of the reading skills together and promotes a better understanding of texts. With fluency, students are able to maintain their reading skills with texts that are at their independent levels. The truth is, no matter the grade-level or learning need, fluency is a skill we could all use a little extra practice with. Plus, fluency practice can be fun (especially for our struggling readers)!

Emphasize the Importance of Practicing Fluency

Last year, I shared a blog post on avoiding the dreaded summer slide with “fluency fun.” It included some general fluency activities, helpful links for parents, and free printable fluency task cards to send home with students for the summer. (Feel free to go back and check out that post!) It’s important for parents to understand the foundations – what fluency is and why it’s important. Below are a few fluency-specific links to support parents who are looking to help their children at home with summer fluency development.

Helpful Resources for Parents:

Five Interactive Summer Activities to Boost Fluency Skills

The five activities below are an extension of my post from last year and provide a few additional fluency activities for parents to help boost fluency at home. The activities are engaging, interactive, and wonderfully effective for summer fluency development!

Summer Activities to Boost Fluency

1. Partner Reading

The first activity is a simple and obvious (but oh-so-powerful) one… read with your child! Not only do children love this extra shared time with parents, but it provides them with a model of what good fluency sounds like.

There are many different ways to partner read:

  • I Read/You Read – You and your child take turns reading a book, making sure he/she is following along or whisper reading along when it’s not his/her turn.
  • Echo Read – You read and then the child reads the exact same sentence, using the parent’s model of fluent reading to guide how to change his/her voice to match the text for phrasing, expression, accuracy, etc.
  • Paired Reading – Choral reading together, as one. Both parent and child whispers or reads the page aloud. This helps model appropriate pace and intonation, and encourages your child to match his/her voice to what your voice is doing.
  • Fill-in-the-Blank Reading – You read a sentence but leave out certain words for your child to fill in. This helps your child practice automatic recognition of sight words and familiar vocabulary using the context.
  • Readers Theater Reading – You and your child have an assigned part in a back-and-forth structured partner play or poem. Texts designed “for two voices” are meant for partner reading, but regular picture books can also be used. One person can be a narrator and one can do all the character speaking parts. (Check out the partner plays on TpT or even some of my partner poems!)

Sometimes reading with your child every single night is just not realistic with busy summer schedules (baseball games, dance rehearsals, swimming lessons, sports camp… I get it!). On those busy nights, set your child up to do Buddy Reading with someone else… a younger sibling, a pet, or even a stuffed animal in the car on the way to baseball practice. Just the act of reading aloud to someone else is effective for fluency practice! (Remember, the book should be an “easy read” at the child’s independent level. Familiar, repeated readings are even better for this.)

2. On-the-Go Fluency Bag

Find a bag (any bag!) and fill it with fluency materials. The idea is for you to bring it with you on all your summer adventures – in the car, to the store, on vacation… really, anywhere! When you’re not “on-the-go” you can keep it inside and use it for various transition times throughout the day (i.e., while you’re cooking dinner, while your child is waiting for a friend to come over, before bedtime, etc.). You can also use the fluency bag as a “ticket out the door.” For example, have your child read something from the bag before leaving the house, exiting the car, or getting up from the dinner table. Embed this fluency practice as part of your daily routine and use this extra time as an opportunity for fluency development.

Fill the fluency bag with independent-level books, poems, and/or fluency cards. The idea is for all the materials to be read aloud multiple times until your child can read the words accurately, automatically, and smoothly, while attending to punctuation and expression. The repeated reading of each of these materials is important, as this helps your child build automatic recognition of the words and strengthens the overall comprehension of what they are reading. (NOTE: If the book, poem, or word card is new and not familiar, model it for your child first!)

When your child feels he/she is ready for new materials, have them read the book, poem, or fluency card for you aloud. You can be the judge of whether or not they are ready for new materials. (I would suggest waiting at least a week to switch up the materials, even if they seem to be mastering it rather quickly!)

**FLUENCY CARDS: You can easily make these yourself using index cards (have your child help you) or there are plenty of free online resources you can print. These fluency cards can be tasks or even phrases, sentences, short paragraphs, knock-knock jokes, tongue twisters, fun facts… anything that gets your students reading for fluency! (See resource links below.)

3. Fluency Games

Turn games you already own, like CandylandTrouble, and Chutes and Ladders , into fluency board games! Just modify the directions to include a fluency task. For example, in order for a player to move his/her game piece, he/she has to read a fluency card with a phrase, sentence, or short paragraph/poem/rhyme using all the components of fluency! You can also print blank board game templates to use with the fluency cards.

You can also use fluency cards with familiar games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Go Fish, Memory, Connect Four, and BOOM!. Check out this website of sight word games that can easily be adapted for any type of cards you have (words, phrases, sentence, paragraphs, tasks, etc.) you have.

4. Poem of the Week

Poetry is always the perfect tool for fluency development because of its structure and natural rhythm. Create a poetry folder and pick a poem to read each week with your child. You can follow the sample schedule below, or create one that works for your family!

  • Monday: Model reading the poem for your child (1-2x) and then echo read line by line. Make sure your child can decode all the words.
  • Tuesday – Thursday: Practice reading the poem each day. (You can even place it in the “on-the-go” fluency bag for repeated readings!)
  • Friday: Your child can perform the poem for you or the entire family.

**You can even video or audio record your child reading the poem on Monday and then on Friday so everyone can reflect and celebrate his/her fluency progress!

(Need some poetry resources? Check out Poetry4KidsGiggle Poetry, or Jack Prelutsky’s website for some silly poetry!)

5. Song Lyrics

Practice fluency with familiar song lyrics!This activity is perfect for older students and wonderfully motivating for reluctant readers who lack reading confidence. Have your child provide you with a list of his/her favorite songs and search for the lyrics on AZLyrics using a computer or mobile device. Make sure the lyrics are age-appropriate and then print out a copy of the lyrics. Here are the steps:

  • Step 1 – Have your child listen to the song and silently read along with the lyrics in his/her head. Pay attention to the fluency of song (i.e., pace, phrasing, attention to punctuation, expression), as well as the song’s rhythm. You may wish to clap along with the beat to get a feel for the rhythm (this will help guide the pace and phrasing of the read-through).
  • Step 2 – Model reading the lyrics with good fluency (not singing) to your child without the music and go over any unknown words. You may need to echo read or choral read some of the lines that are more difficult.
  • Step 3 – Have him/her practice reading each line of the song aloud with the music artist first. Practice until your student can read the lyrics (not sing or recite) without the music.
  • Step 4 – Your child should be able to then read the lyrics independently and fluently, without the music!

You may need to repeat some of the steps if the song is more challenging. Keep in mind, the goal is for students to read not recite, so make sure his/her eyes are on the page following along with the words for every single step!

If you’re interested in learning more about using music for fluency development, check out this article by Shari Edwards on the Scholastic website.

Want to get the family involved? You can even practice fluency karaoke style! If you own a smart TV or have a media streaming device (*e.g., Amazon Fire TVRoku, or Apple TV) you can display the lyrics to the song right on the TV using YouTube Karaoke Channel. If you don’t have any streaming options, just gather around your computer or mobile device and use the Karasongs website. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can even download the free Karaoke App for karaoke fun!

(*Streaming device list may contain affiliate links) 

Free Fluency Activity Printable

To help your students include fluency activities in their summer reading plans, I created a printable resource that you can download and share with their parents. Feel free share the link to this blog post in an end-of-the-year email/newsletter for parents to read more about these ideas, as well.

Summer Fluency Booster Activities

Download the free parent handout HERE or by clicking the image above!

Looking for Extra Resources to Support These Activities? 

Free Word Card Resources: 

*Books:

(*Book resource list may contain affiliate links) 

Fluency Task Cards: 


I hope you found these ideas and resources to be helpful! The The Reading Crew has put together an entire month of literacy learning. (Did you miss my post from the first week? Check it out here!) There will be new blog posts shared throughout the month of May, so be sure to follow our hashtag #thereadingcrew on social media or check out our live calendar. The calendar will be edited to include clickable links as each blog post is published and made available. You may wish to pin it or bookmark the calendar for easy access. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and social media to receive updates about our upcoming blog events, too!

Happy Summer!

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Help students boost summer reading fluency with these 5 interactive fluency activities | A FREE printable for parents is included to support student fluency development. By doing these activities, parents can help their children maintain reading skills and avoid the summer reading regression that usually occurs.

Literacy Ideas for Every Day of the Month | Check out the calendar of blog posts presented by The Reading Crew. Clickable links will be added throughout the month. (Follow us on Facebook for ideas and upcoming events!)

Dreading Summer Regression? All You Need is a Plan!

2 May

With summer nearly upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the dreaded summer regression (insert frustrated teacher sigh); however, the summer slide doesn’t have to be a reality for every student. Encourage parents to prepare now by developing a summer reading plan, and show them the importance of summer reading so their children don’t lose any of the gains they worked so hard to make this year.

Emphasize the Importance of Summer Reading

The “summer slide” is a common occurrence for many students. Often, summers get busy and reading isn’t a priority. Parents want to give their children a break from school, or they don’t wish to battle their children who are reluctant to pick up a book. Sometimes, they aren’t even aware the negative effects this academic break causes. Summer regression a big issue, especially for struggling readers, but it can be avoided.

Be proactive. Send home a parent letter explaining the benefits of summer reading, or email your classroom parents to share a few informative websites. This information may be just what they need to see the value of summer reading and may encourage families to take action and make a plan for summer reading.

Helpful Resources: 

Encourage Parents to Create a Summer Reading Plan

So often we say we’re going to do things, but unless we’re intentional with our time and an action plan is in place, it’s probably not going to happen. Being mindful of our goals and actually writing down our plans helps with accountability. Similar to my weekly “to do” list – writing it down doesn’t guarantee it will happen, but the act of creating a plan increases the chances immensely. 🙂

Consider sending home a planning page to help families start thinking about their summer reading plans. There is one planning page for families to complete together, and one for students to complete. Which form they choose will depend if it’s a whole family initiative – where every family member takes part in the summer reading challenge – or just the children.

I would encourage parents to fill these forms out with their children! You can model the conversation students can have with their families and make it the planning page part of their homework. Or if you don’t want to make it mandatory, get creative and think of some incentives that would encourage your students to have the conversation with their families. For example, students can bring in their plan into school to show you for a free homework pass to use during these last few weeks of school, or they can earn a ticket for a fun raffle drawing – perhaps for a prize or a fun lunch with you! (I’m not above bribery incentives! ;))

Download the free summer reading planning pages HERE or by clicking the image above!

I hope you found these ideas and resources to be helpful! Join The Reading Crew over the next few weeks for an entire month of literacy learning. There will be new blog posts shared each day so be sure to follow our hashtag #thereadingcrew on social media or check out our live calendar. The calendar will be edited each day to include clickable links as each blog post is published and made available. You may wish to bookmark it for easy access. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive updates about our upcoming blog events, too!

Happy Teaching!

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