Stamp out summer brain drain with these tips from Chicago teachers



Read, Read, Read! Reading out loud to your kids increases reading fluency, expands your child's vocabulary, models good reading habits and increases reading motivation. If your child is 2 or 12, reading aloud is a powerful connection between home and school. When selecting text to share with your children, here are a few handy tips:

  • For pre-readers: Select text that has predictable word patterns, rhyme patterns or repeated verses or phrases. This will help your child read along and understand how words sound and link together.
  • For early readers: As you read together, ask your child to make predictions, connections or figure out what the author is trying to teach them, "What do you think will happen next?" "How would you feel if this happened to you?" "What do you think is the most important part of the story so far?" These conversations get kids thinking about what they are reading and increase comprehension.
  • For older readers: Young adult literature has really changed since Judy Blume. Young adult lit authors are taking on very challenging issues.
  • Choose a novel that you can really talk about. It may be easier to discuss important or sensitive topics with you pre-teen or teen if you can relate the issues to a character or plot twist. Topics like body issues, peer pressure, loss, depression, love, bullying, race relations, sexuality, drug/alcohol use are just the beginning. These stories can really open doors for you and your child. Read them together out loud and ask each other questions. Or, get two copies and read the books on your own, then come together after dinner, on the way to soccer practice or before work to talk about what you've read and to plan the next section. You'll be amazed at the conversations you'll have. If you don't know where to start, go to and type in 2010 Best Books for Young Adults.

--Christine Lord Voreis
Language arts teacher, St. Charles Public Schools

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