It may not feel like summer, but most kids are no longer doing virtual learning activities. As an educator, you may want to know how to maintain the progress your k-2 student(s) have made during the school year. Since many people are already consumed with busy lives, I’ve included simple summer reading activities for kindergarten (as well as 1st grade) in this post. That way, you can ensure that your student does not experience the summer slide. In addition, since the activities are short, your child can still get a little break from schoolwork.
The summer slide is real and well-documented in research. During the summer, kids tend to lose academic ground. This may be okay if your student is doing well. However, summer can cause struggling readers to fall even further behind. Many parents of struggling readers view summer as an opportunity to gain ground. This is an excellent idea. If you have a k-2 struggling reader, make sure you continue to work with him in reading throughout the summer.
Here are some simple summer activities to help your k-2 student avoid the summer slide…
Use sound cards daily.
Sound cards are flashcards with phonics units on them. Write all of the sounds your student has learned throughout the year on flashcards. Show him each flashcard and prompt him for the sound. You can go through our phonics books to identify the most common phonics sounds. Here are a few:
Sets 1-5 in our phonics books shop- Short Vowels
a_ as in hat (use apple as a mnemonic)
i_ as in lit (use igloo as a mnemonic)
o_ as in hop (use ostrich as a mnemonic)
u_ as in cup (use up as a mnemonic)
e_ as in met (use elephant as a mnemonic)
Set 6 in our shop- Consonant Digraphs
sh as in ship
th as in math
th as in then
ch as in chop
_tch as in match
_ck as in back
_ng as in long
_ing as in king
_ang as in sang
wh_ as in when
Set 7 in our shop- Consonant Blends
Consonant blends- Consonant blends are 2 or more letter sounds in a row. Do not teach students to memorize blends. Teach them to decode blends sound-by-sound. Some samples include: fl as in flop, br as in brim and cl as in click. There are two exceptions. Teach kids to memorize tr as in truck and dr as in drop, as these two have a sound change.
Set 8 in our shop- Silent e
a_e as in make
e_e as in Pete
i_e as in kite
o_e as in hope
u_e as in use
u_e as in duke
Set 9 in our shop- Long Vowels
ee as in tree
ea as in seal
Set 10 in our shop- Long Vowels
ai as in rain
_ay as in bay
Set 11 in our shop- Long Vowels
oa as in boat
ow as in glow
Set 12 in our shop- Long Vowels
igh as in light
Set 13 in our shop- Long Vowels
_____y as in funny
_y as in my
Set 14 in our shop- oo/ew
oo as in moon
oo as in look
ew as in new
After your student recalls phonics sounds with sound cards, do some phonemic awareness activities.
The great thing about phonemic awareness activities is that you can do them anywhere. You don’t need any materials. You simply need to say words slowly, clip stop sounds, elongate continuous sounds, and then have your student try to guess what you’re saying. Stops sounds are sounds you must say quickly as to avoid adding an “uh.” For example, say /d/ not /duh/ for the letter d. Continuous sounds can be held for a long time without any sound distortion. Say continuous sounds for 3 seconds (ex. mmmmmmmmm…) Here’s a quick activity you can do nearly anywhere:
EDUCATOR: “I’m going to say a word slowly. I want you to piece the sounds together and tell me what I’m saying.”
Do about ten words daily (or more). Make sure the words are at your student’s level. Your student should get about 70% or more correct. If he’s making lots of errors, pick smaller cvc (consonant-vowel-consonant) words like man, tap, fix, wet, run, nap, cap, pop….etc.
Have your k-1 student read phonics books like the ones offered in our shop. If he’s beyond phonics stories, select some books at his level.
Make sure your k-1 student reads aloud with a more advanced reading partner throughout the summer. Generally, k-1 students should not read on their own. At this stage, students are still laboriously sounding out words and blending. Their fluency rate is slow, so they may need help staying focused and understanding the story.
Also, when a beginning reader makes an error, he needs a more advanced reading partner to point out the particular sound he miscued on. For example, if a student says ham for “hat,” a reading partner would underline t and ask the student to say the sound again. The student will respond with the correct /t/. Next time the student reads “hat,” he should exchange the /m/ sound for the correct /t/ sound.
Reading aloud will improve the students accuracy and fluency, which are both critical for reading progress. During the summer, fluency rates fall quite dramatically. A beginning 3rd grader, for example, can expect to read at the same speed he did in the middle of 2nd grade. A beginning 4th grader will read at the same speed he did in the middle of 3rd grade. These are dramatic loses in speed that can be remedied simply by reading leveled books for 20 minutes a day throughout the summer.
For k-1 students and struggling readers, check out our phonics stories.