Summer Learning: Elementary Literacy

Summer is the perfect time to continue to support your child’s literacy skills in a fun and relaxed environment. While the break offers a respite from the school routine and pressures, keeping young minds engaged can help prevent the summer slide. Our team has compiled some creative and enjoyable ways to support summer literacy at home and help your child maintain and enhance their reading skills during the summer break. 

Have fun with sounds in the car or on a walk.  

  • Find things that start with or end with the same sound (alliteration, sound matching, rhyming)  
  • Auditory blending for early/emerging readers – can be a mystery game to identify the word (parent/guardian says sounds like /c//a//t/ – child blends to “cat” or parent can stretch the sounds in the word to make it easier, rather than fully separating: “ccccaaaaaatttttttt” child makes it short “cat.” Start with words that have 2 or 3 sounds.  
  • Auditory segmenting for early/emerging readers – like the game above, but parent/guardian can say a word short, and the child makes it stretched or separated. 

Resources to check out online.  

Practice reading at a manageable level for your child.

  • Encourage them to read the words in the world around them, such as on signs, billboards, posters, magazines, food boxes, etc.   
  • Turn on the subtitles for their favourite movies, shows, or YouTube. You can even turn the volume down and have them try to put on the voices for the characters.  
  • Choose a chapter book to read out loud together. Take turns reading in chunks, like by chapter, paragraph, page, or sentence. Slowly increase the amount as they become more comfortable reading aloud with you.   
  • Go to the library together and pick out books from different sections: picture books, nonfiction books, chapter books, magazines, etc. Try to guide them to books at their level, but also allow them to check out other books for fun and read them together.   
  • You can tie this to a reward system in terms of meeting reading goals (e.g. read 3 books = water park)  
  • Read a picture book and have your child draw new illustrations for what’s going on in the story. Talk about the plot points together.   
  • Play an adventure video game together and read the instructions and dialogues aloud together.

Practice writing or printing at a manageable level for your child.

  • Have a journal, paper, or sticky notes that your child can use to write a word, a sentence, or sentences each day or night. Your child can draw a picture to go with their writing or find pictures online to make a collage. You can also match photos you may take during your daily routine and activities. 
  • You can tie this to a reward in terms of meeting written output goals (e.g. fill a journal by the end of the summer = water park)  
  • For resistant writers, you can suggest they use speech-to-text. An example of this would be asking Siri to make a note in your Notes app on your phone or iPad. 
    • Or start small – they write one word, and you scribe the rest of their ideas.  
    • If written output is a challenge, don’t worry about spelling. 
    • If spelling words is a focus or goal, a) show them how a word is spelled once, b) have them sound it out and say the corresponding letters, then c) try and write it themselves, looking back at how it is spelled if needed. 

LDS booklet with more ideas to support your K-3 child’s literacy at home.  

Marlo Humiski, Senior Manager, Early Years Programs

LDS is a community of dedicated professionals who write collaboratively. We recognize the contribution of unnamed team members for their wisdom and input.