Your Child Needs Summer School for Reading: A Recipe for a Summer Reading Program that Works

Your Child Needs Summer School for Reading: A Recipe for a Summer Reading Program that Works


It’s finally here: the second half of the school year. Your child’s teacher calls you in for a parent-teacher

conference. Knowing the topic could mean anything from the very good to the very bad, you manage a

poker face as you approach the teacher. He or she informs you that your child is underperforming and

will need summer school to bolster reading skills.


Sound familiar?


It was a new experience for me and when I heard the oft-dreaded words “summer school” I quickly

refused to believe summer school was the only option.  In fact, I learned of several summer school options available for

both parents and children that can close the reading gap.


Of course, the worst action to take is no action. Studies show that a child can lose up to a full year of

material over the summer holiday. If your child has been receiving interventions at school, then that

progress could be reversed over summer.


Let’s take a look at what reading options are available so that you can decide what will work for you and

your family.

Summer School2summerschool

So what does summer school look like?  It starts with you, the parent, dropping your child off at the

school for four or five days a week for a morning class session lasting up to three hours.  A certified

teacher has a small group of students with similar skills and uses the programs the school has adopted

to instruct them.  While this has proven to prevent summer reading loss, it has not always been proven

to actually close the gap for a child that is still behind his or her peers.

Summer Library Program

Another option for is to enrolling your child in a local free summer library program.  It is pretty simple to

enroll.  At the beginning of the summer you would go to the children’s area and asks to sign your child

up.  You provide the child’s name, grade, and school.  The librarian hands you a booklet where your child

can log in his/her reading that he or she has done.  When you arrive at the library during the summer,

your child can redeem the points he or she has earned for prizes and coupons for area attractions.

During the summer, the library will put on fun programs for the kids so that they are motivated to come

to the library.  During this time kids can pick out new books to read over the next week or two.  It is a

relaxed program and is described by both parents and children as motivational. Although the summer

library programs do not offer one-on-one instruction, it can change a child’s perception of reading when

the child gets to exercise independence in choosing reading material.  Therefore, it may not close the

gap completely but can be great as an auxiliary, or additional, resource.

Help Your Child

You can also create a schedule for your child where you are the sole person helping your child.  Many

parents like to do this because they feel that their child’s reading is their responsibility.

If this is something that interests you, I have created a book called 31 Days to Become a Better Reader:

Increasing Your Child’s Reading Level.  In this book, I challenge you and your child to sit down together

and read for 31 days straight.  Both you and your child get to read a book that you want and alternate

reading for thirty minutes each day.  The book 31 Days is designed to give you some suggestions on

what you can focus on when you are reading.  It is like having a Reading Specialist right there with you

whispering pro-tips that help you help your child.

The problem with helping your own child can be that our own children are usually pretty resistant to

working with us, especially if they are behind.  Your child may already be lacking confidence, may feel

guilty about not meeting certain goals, or may feel backed into a corner. In this circumstance, a third

party can provide a service that benefits both you and your child.


Tutoring is an excellent option for children that are resistant to help for any number of reasons (shame,

guilt, embarrassment, apathy, annoyance, boredom, and more).  A tutor typically provides an

assessment that hones in on your child’s reading gaps and creates an individualized program. Tutors can

range in experience and have a variety of personalities and teaching styles, so you will want to do your

research to find a tutor that has experience and achieves the results you desire.

Online Tutoring

Thanks to the internet, your selection of tutors is nearly unlimited and you can definitely find a summer reading

program that will fit your child’s needs.  In fact, you can find the best the tutors in

the world to work with your child.  I have been tutoring online since 2010 and have helped over one

hundred students close their reading gaps.  One little girl that I worked with ended first grade at the bottom

of her class in reading.  Her mom found me and I created the following Reading Recipe: one hour of

tutoring a week via Skype for three months. The result? A child that went from a first grade level to a

third grade level before she entered second grade. Both mother and daughter still reap the benefits of

these online tutoring sessions and I remain in contact with this family to this day.

Creating a Recipe for Success

Speaking of recipes, it’s time to create your child’s Reading Recipe. This is the fun part! For my daughter

Mikayla, I am going to use a combination of options.  I am opting out of summer school because I

haven’t seen the benefits that would warrant shuttling her to school every day.  She will work with a

tutor, follow a schedule she and I set up, and participate in the summer library program.  I know that

with this plan in place that she will soar and rise to success.  What will your plan look like?

If you are interested in connecting with me regarding Skype reading tutoring, just click on the contact

me page and I can help you get set up.


I would love to be able to answer any questions that you have regarding the choices that you have

before you.  Feel free to respond below and I will do my best to answer them.  If you are looking for

more information regarding these choices and the pros and cons of each of them, please check out this

clip on Google Hangout.

11 Qualities to Look for in a Great Online Tutor

11 Qualities to Look for in a Great Online Tutor

11 qualities of a great online tutor

With the world all connected online now, sometimes it is hard to find what you are looking for.  Especially when you don’t really know what you are looking for.  When hiring an online tutor you will want to make sure that they have certain qualities.  I have narrowed them down to just 11 qualities to ensure you find the right tutor for the job.

A great tutor is: patient, self-confident, resourceful, persistent, professional, internet savvy, enthusiastic, results oriented, adaptable, and compassionate. Let’s take a look at each of these and how they play a part in molding a great online tutor so that you can find the very best one for your child.


This falls on a spectrum. Each student will command a certain level of patience.  For example,  patience gives a tutor the ability to return to a problem that a student hasn’t learned or yet mastered. Patience can be given from the tutor when he or she is having trouble being patient with the tutoring process. Sometimes students can become easily frustrated, and showing the student patience can give him or her a model to emulate.


A great online tutor needs to be able to sell themselves. They need to believe in their strengths and believe in their service.  If they don’t believe in themselves, then it will become extremely difficult for you to want to move forward with their services.


One of the beautiful things about teaching online is the access to a world of knowledge. Online tutors have unlimited resources that can aide in instruction: online dictionaries, photos, videos and graphs.  You want to hire an online tutor that takes advantage of these tools.

Accessing material on an as-needed basis affords the student some independent lesson control: if a student wants to delve deeper into a concept, typing a few key words will populate innumerable hours of information.

You will want a tutor that will encourage listening and speaking skills, especially in younger students, by engaging in casual conversation as media is loading.


You will want a tutor that will refuse to give up on your child, and tailor a method that works. Some kids are used to people giving up on them.  This has been a pattern in their lives and they have become quite accepting of it.  Some kids will test their tutor. Find a tutor that will not give up on them. Also, make sure the tutor has some form of assessment they use to determine the growth that has been made.  Your tutor should do an assessment every 3 months to determine growth and to re-evaluate how instruction is going based on your child’s needs.


Professionalism is key, on and off the screen.  Make sure the tutor dresses the part of an education professional. Working from home is not necessarily a free pass to conduct tutoring sessions in pajamas. It is important that they carry themselves with a quality that you want your child to see (and possibly copy).

Professionalism necessitates starting and ending tutoring sessions on time. You want a tutor that respects this as you most likely have a very busy life and do not want it hindered because a tutor is unable to show up on time.

Optimized Online Presence

Make sure the tutor that you are looking to hire has an optimized online presence.  You should be able to do research on the tutor ahead of time to learn all about them.  Go to their Linked In page and website.  Type in their first and last name and analyze the information that is available on the internet about them.  If you are able to find a lot of information that is positive and you like what you see, then they may be a good fit for your child.  However, if there is very little information available, be wary because they could be hiding something.

Content Knowledge

Obviously you want to hire a teacher that has a lot of content knowledge in the area they specifically teach.  If a tutor says that they are a jack of all trades, then beware.  This usually means they haven’t studied extensively in any of those areas and they only have a general knowledge base.  If you hire a specialist in the specific area that your child is struggling, then you will be much happier with the results they are able to produce during the tutoring session.

Results Oriented

Tutoring is a results-oriented practice.  You should be committing to tutoring services for an anticipated result (improved grades, increased confidence, performing at or ahead of grade level, increased motivation, et al). Your tutor should set up some goals to be reached with your feedback.

By the end of three months (or a tutoring package, for example), the tutor should be able to provide an assessment that describes student achievement, room for improvement, and whether the goal was met.

Personable Demeanor

Find an online tutor that is pleasant to work with. Personable people focus on the relationships with their students and make the students feel comfortable working through problems and making mistakes.

An excellent tutor encourages and guides the student to figure out the answer, especially to a question the student wonders aloud. Creating a personable relationship that a student wants to be a part of is critical in maintaining student interest and cooperation in a session even when he or she doesn’t feel like cooperating.


One of the biggest gifts you will want to look for  is the ability to adapt. If  your child all of a sudden needs help understanding an old concept or a new idea, then the tutor should be able to focus on that material using a variety of tools in their toolbox. Adaptability also affords the student to take responsibility for his or her learning; the student can begin the session by sharing what he or she doesn’t know, or would like to know more about.

With adaptability comes autonomy: the ability to determine what avenue will best explain a concept. Your child may be able to memorize anything if it’s put into a song, so the tutor might provide a video that sings the Preamble to the US Constitution. If your child is struggling with a meaning of a word and is a visual learner, the tutor may ask him or her to draw a picture of the definition of the word. If the student learns best by doing, the tutor may ask the student to use the word in a variety of role-play scenarios. Words can be added to a list of words to build long-term memory and increase word usage. (We will discuss the different learning styles and how to determine a student’s learning style in a separate post)


Compassionate listening is the tool that a great tutor  will utilize to determine what your child needs during instruction.  It is also a tool that can be used for empathy. Sometimes your child may have a rough day, may be distracted, or may feel sick. A compassionate tutor is able to identify when the student has an “off” day and adapts to the student’s needs, expresses patience throughout the lesson, and the skills discussed in this article to instruct the student effectively.

What are your thoughts?  Are there some qualities that you think should have made the list.  If so, I would love to hear what they are.  Or, maybe you really agree with one of these qualities.  If so, then which one do you connect with and why?  Type your response in the comments section below.

Most Amazing Weekend Ever!!!

Most Amazing Weekend Ever!!!

As an online reading tutor I often don’t get to meet the students that I work with.  However, this past weekend I had the opportunity to meet with an astounding student I have been helping since June of 2014.  She lives about 2 hours away from San Jose, California.  This past weekend I happened to be traveling to San Jose for a business function and they were visiting San Jose for a Christmas party.  We decided to meet up at the hotel I was staying at since I didn’t have a car and my conference started at 9:00.  We met for breakfast at 8:00 and honestly we could have gone on talking for hours.


Joanne Kaminski and Piper in San Jose, California

People used to ask me if tutoring online was not personal enough for kids.  I used to laugh inside my head at that question because it is absolutely personal.  Just because I can’t touch you physically doesn’t mean that I can’t touch your heart.  As you can see from this lovely picture of the two of us, it looks like we have known each other forever.  I love this girl and the progress she has made and it gave me the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the entire family.

The entire day I was at my conference I was ecstatic because I was able to connect with this amazing child.  All of my students have something special to offer the world and Piper has a shining personality and a never give up attitude that is going to take her very far in life.  She has improved so much in her reading that she no longer needs to go to a reading specialist at her school for additional interventions.  We are continuing to close her non-fiction reading gap, but that will easily come with a little bit more time.

I love that I am able to travel the world, tutor online, and make a difference in kids lives.  After talking with this wonderful family over breakfast, we really got to know each other on a deeper level.  They expressed their gratitude for the work that I have been doing and they shared a special story with me about how Piper does her tutoring.

Piper has her tutoring session at 6:30 am in the morning before school because she is so active after school.  This is perfect for me because of the 2 hour time difference.  I am able to drop off my kids at school a little early and make it home in time to tutor Piper.  Piper sets her alarm on her side to wake up at 6:00 so that she can tutor with me.  Piper’s mom doesn’t have to ever remind her and she is always at her sessions on time.  Her mom let me know that this is because she is so excited to work with me.  These kind of stories are so touching to me.  They let me know that I am making a difference in another’s life and that what I do is valued.  I love that Piper’s mom allows Piper to be self-sufficient and gives her the responsibility to do what she needs to do.  This is a mom that really cares about giving her child what she needs and allowing her to be responsible for her own education.

Who knew?  Tutoring online can be fun, personable, and rewarding.  Well, I guess I knew all along since I started this business.  Just not all people believed it could be possible when I first started out.  I am so grateful that I didn’t listen to the nay sayers and I followed my dream of teaching struggling readers to become better readers via online tutoring.

What are your thoughts about online tutoring?



Helpful tips for Preparing for a Child’s Conference

Helpful tips for Preparing for a Child’s Conference

parent conferencesConference time can be an anxious time of the year.  Especially if your child has been
struggling in a certain area.  As a parent I have had both positive and negative conferences.  The positive conferences were usually the ones where they told me everything that was going well and asked if I had any questions.

The negative conferences dealt with some pretty tough topics like my child not handing in her homework or not being able to focus on her work like the other students.  It is really easy for me to hear good things about my child, but it can be difficult to listen to areas that she needs to work on.  Especially when the list is big.  So, here are some tips to make sure you leave the conference feeling good about the information that was shared.

1.  Don’t become defensive.  This conference is about your child and not about you.

(I have noticed that once I start becoming defensive that is really hard to hear what the teacher is saying.)

2.  Be open to suggestions that the teacher offers.  For example, a teacher may discuss the need for a reading tutor.  This is because they are aware that more time than is offered in school is needed in order for your child to be successful.

3.  Ask for the areas that your child is doing well in.  Most teachers will find something positive to report about your child, but not all of them will.  Be prepared to ask them if much of the feedback is negative.

4.  Remember that this teacher has most likely worked an entire day with students and is meeting with you when it is usually their time to relax a little.  They may not come off as chippy as you would like, but they have your child’s best interest at heart.

5.  Ask what you can do to support your child at home.  Are there some resources that you should be using or additional activities that you should be doing?

6.  If you don’t understand something, always ask questions.  Teachers hear questions all day long and the only way they can help you is if you ask them yours.

7.  Try to include your child in the conference.  This conference is all about them.  Whether the information is positive or negative, they should be taking an active role in his/her education.

8.  Don’t try to compare your child to the other kids in the class.  Your child is unique with special talents and may do well or not as well as the other kids.  The most important thing is that your child is working at his/her level.

9.  Be consistent with what you plan on doing after the conference.  It is really easy to start off strong and then allow our hectic lifestyles to take over.

10.  Thank the teacher for the work that they do with your child.  You would be amazed at how rare it is for a parent to be grateful for the work that a teacher does with their child.  They are doing amazing things for our children and deserve a huge pat on the back.

Hope this helps as you are preparing for your next set of parent teacher conferences.  The more you engage in the conversation the more you will learn what you can do to support your child.

Summer Reading Program that Truly Motivates Kids to Read

As some of you know, my daughter who was in first grade this year really struggled with learning to read.  She was in an intervention at school and each night her teacher would send home the same six books for her to read night after night after night.  It was frustrating for us and it was frustrating for her.  But needless to say, my daughter is now reading at the level she should be.  She didn’t enjoy the process of having to do her reading each night for homework, but we got through it.  Yes, there was resistance and tears, and everything else that parents who have a struggling reader have to go through.

But recently, now that she has a choice about what she has to read, the game has changed.  She is excited to read and begs me to sit with her while she does her reading.  What changed?  Well, two things.  First, she gets to choose the books that she can read.  Second, I signed her up for two summer reading programs at the local libraries.  She is so excited to earn her own prizes that she keeps reading and reading.  In fact in just one week, without any resistance, tears, or heartache Mikayla has read 6  1/2 hours.  Yes, the child that was resistant really did this without me asking her to do it.  She committed to the program and cares about earning her prizes.

This excites me beyond anything in the world.  When you take a child who has struggled and hated reading for an entire year, give her some choice, and see these kinds of results, then you just want to share them with everyone and anyone who will listen.  If you are having doubts about signing up your child for the free program at the library, think about what kind of results that you want for your child.

During the summer, kids that don’t read suffer from summer reading loss.  They get more behind their peers and require more one on one help in the school, which decreases as the years go on.  By taking the opportunity to motivate your child to read now, you can save yourself thousands of dollars down the road.  It is priceless to hear your child ask you to read to you while you take a shower or while you are in the car together.  It is also priceless to sit down and read with them.  It is bonding time and they will only be the size that they are now once.  Take advantage of every opportunity you get to be your child’s cheerleader when it comes to their reading.  When you see the results that happen as a direct result you will be forever grateful.

8 Great Ways to Improve Your Child’s Vocabulary with a Vocabulary Tutor

8 Great Ways to Improve Your Child’s Vocabulary with a Vocabulary Tutor

If you want a surefire way to enhance your child’s educational success, then you will want to expand your child’s vocabulary.  Research has shown that children who
have large vocabularies are the most academically successful people.  Who wouldn’t want that for their children?  Right?

We are going to take a look at the most successful vocabulary strategies that will skyrocket your child to success.  Before we do that, let’s take a look at how children learn new words from a vocabulary tutor.

1.  Incidental learning

2.  Direct Instruction

3.  Multiple exposures through experience

The first way that children learn vocabulary is through incidental learning.  Just through being a human being on this earth we are learning new vocabulary words on a daily basis.  These are words that we just pick up by accident.  We don’t need to be taught these words.

The second way that we learn vocabulary is through direct instruction.  This is where people take the time to explain a word, talk about words that have similar meanings, and sometimes we are then tested to see if learning of these words occurred.

The last way we learn new words are through multiple exposures through our experiences.  The likelihood of us learning these words without the experiences would most likely not happen, so the experiences themselves help aid in learning the new words.

If learning new vocabulary is to happen, it is important that we use the words that we are learning.  It takes between 7-10 exposures before we can actually learn a new word.  As soon as the child begins using that word in their own conversations, they will be transferring that word from their short term memory to their long term memory.

Here is a list of some of the things that you can do with your child to improve her vocabulary.

8 Great Ways to increase vocabulary

1.  Travel

2.  Talk at the dinner table

3.  Involve your children in your hobbies

4.  Read books with your child

5.  Sign your child up for a new class in your community

6.  Involve your kids in sports

7.  Turn off devices in your car once a week and read or talk

8.  Get your child involved at your local library

To learn more about each of these different strategies watch the video of a Hangout I conducted below.  We learn new vocabulary through conversations with others, so begin using some of these vocabulary strategies with your child to improve his/her vocabulary.

9 Great Apps for Teaching Kids to Read

9 Great Apps for Teaching Kids to Read

Nothing excites me more than seeing kids reading books and teaching kids to read.  There are many reading websites for kids and now there are a ton of apps out there as well.  One of my favorite ones is Raz kids reading.  Here is a list of some of my favorite apps out there for the ipad.  Click on the video below to see more information about each of these apps.

1.  Kindle

2.  Raz Kids

3.  Kids Reading Logs

4.  News – O – Matic

5.  Reading Rainbow

6.  Story Botsstorybots

7.  Tick Tack Pippi Kids Speed Reading Game

8.  Epic Books

9.  World’s Worst Pet Vocabulary

10 Signs of a Struggling Reader and What You Can do About it

10 Signs of a Struggling Reader and What You Can do About it

You may be one of those people that wonders if your child is struggling with reading.  All kids develop at different rates and each grade level has different
expectations.  Here you are going to learn what signs to look for and identify if your child fits in that category.  You will also have the opportunity to take a look to see what you can do for your child if she is struggling with that area.  At the end of this post there is a video of a call that I did teaching parents what they can do to determine if their child is struggling.  So here are the 10 signs to look for to determine if you indeed have a struggling reader.

1.  They ask you to read something for them.Young man fallen asleep after long reading

2.  They ask you how to spell a word.

3.  They come up with excuses not to read.

4. They read word by word.

5.  They can’t answer questions about what they just read.

6.  They don’t make comments when they are reading.

7.  They skip words.

8.  They slur words when reading and hope that you don’t notice.

9.  They keep asking you the meaning of words.

10.  They read as fast and they can.

We are going to take a look at each of these specifically and figure out what the real problem is and what some solutions are to the problem.

They ask you to read something for them

Now asking you to read something is not a problem unless it seems like they are constantly asking you to do it.  The problem is, they are suffering from a lack of self confidence about their reading.  They don’t see themselves as being able to accurately read what is before them.  So you will want to find out specifically why they are asking you to read it for them.

Ask your child why they need you to read it for them.  Is it because they don’t know how to read certain words or because they need help understanding a concept?  You will want to delve more into it to determine that.

Another thing you can do is ask your child to read it to you.  That way you can listen to see what the problem seems to be.  You will be able to listen to whether they are struggling with a word or they have a blank look like they aren’t understanding a concept.

They ask you how to spell a word

Kids that struggle with reading also struggle with spelling.  Spelling is actually a harder task than reading because it requires you to have mastered the phonics rules, which don’t always make sense.  The problem here is also a lack of self confidence.  They don’t trust that they can write the word correctly, so they ask you because surely you know how to do it.  Why risk being wrong, when you have the answer.  The thing is, you don’t want to be their solution.  You can’t travel around with them all day long to help them with their spelling.

So, give your child an opportunity to try it on their own first.  If your child spells it correctly, then you can congratulate her and build up her self confidence.  If it is wrong, then you can write the word the correct way next to it.  Then your child can look for the errors that she made and then write it the correct way.  To give some added practice you can have your child write the word an additional 5 to 10 times to begin to lock in how to spell the word correctly.

They come up with excuses not to read

One of the problems here is motivation.  Your child would rather be doing anything else in the world than reading and the thought of having to read sounds like pure torture.  Find out why your child doesn’t want to read, by asking her.  Sometimes it is because they just haven’t found the right books yet.  To find books that your child will love, you can go to and type in the search bar “3rd grade books”.  Insert your child’s grade level or reading level and find some books that other kids their age are enjoying.

Many kids love spending time with their parents.  Some like to snuggle, some like to be close by.  Whatever the situation is for you and your child, next time do it with a book.  You can simply read to your child or switch off from page to page.  This way you can model great reading habits and motivate them more to want to read.

They read word by word

Nothing can sound more monotonous than a child that reads word by word.  The biggest problem here is fluency.  We want reading to sound like we are talking and not to sound robotic.

Repeated readings of the same text can be a way for kids to break this word by word reading pattern.  There are some fun poems on that you can check out.  There are also some poetry theater readings that you can do with your child that can help them with practicing a text for meaning.  Have your child perform the poems to other family members or call grandma and grandpa to listen to it.  The poems will be entertaining for your child, and everyone will laugh.  Making reading fun is a sure way to break that word by word reading.

They can’t answer questions about what they just read

The problem here is comprehension.  A child can sound like he or she is a good reader, but not actually be reading to understand.  Being able to sound out words and read them correctly is only part of the reading process.  We want kids to be able to think about what they are reading and make meaning out of it.  A comprehension problem can be based off of not thinking about the words, but it can also be based on not knowing the meaning of words.  Pay attention to what the situation could be for your child.

As you are listening to your child read, have her summarize at the end of a page periodically.  This will give you an opportunity to see if she is processing what she is reading.  If she doesn’t know how to do that, then you can model with her when you are reading books to her at night.  After you are done reading a page, then you can summarize what is happening.

They don’t make comments when they are reading

As we are reading, we are thinking about what we are reading.  However a child that has no thinking going on during their reading is purely just reading the words and not comprehending the text.  As we are reading many different kinds of thoughts run through our head.  We make statements, such as, “Hmmm…I didn’t know that.”  We also make predictions about what is going to happen next.  We ask different kinds of questions, and we monitor our reading for understanding.  Lastly, we make connections.  We can make connections between the book and our life, other books, and the world.

This is where reading aloud to your child can help.  It gives you the opportunity to be able to model the thoughts that go through your head when you are reading, so that they can begin to understand what kinds of thoughts could be going through their head when they are reading.

They skip words

The problem here could be phonics or a lack of sight words in their long term memory.  Sometimes kids skip words because they don’t want to take the time to figure them out.  Sometimes they are focusing on the next big word that they see.  If you notice that your child is doing this you can have her go back and read it.  If the word is too difficult, then you can help her break it up.

Sometimes though a word cannot be read phonetically, and it just has to be memorized.  To help your child memorize the word, you can collect difficult words on index cards.  On one side write the word.  On the other side you can write a sentence that your child comes up with.  Then you can practice the words that your child has difficulty with and increase her ability to read sight words.

They slur words when they are reading and hope that you don’t notice

This is usually a phonics problem.  The child doesn’t know the word, so they slur it to try to skip under the radar.  Talk to your child about the importance of reading the sounds distinctly.  This will help her be able to retain the meaning of what she is reading.  Also, make her go back to the word and read it again.  You can try to help her break up the word to read it, or add it to the sight word index cards to practice.

They keep asking the meaning of words

When this happens, the problem is vocabulary.  Your child needs to increase her vocabulary.  An easy way to do this is to speak to your child more.  As adults our vocabularies are much larger than our children, so the more they hear us talk, the more they pick up words and the meanings of words.  It has been proven that children who have parents that talk to them for longer periods during the day have a much larger vocabulary than children who do not.

Make sure to eat dinner together and talk about your days as a family.  Also, the more that you read to your child, the more words that he or she will pick up accidentally.  The more opportunities that you provide for your child to hear new words the better.  There has been no research that shows kids learn new vocabulary words from watching t.v., so limit tube time and exchange it for you time.

They read as fast as they can

Again, this is a fluency problem.  The child has gotten in their head that the faster they read, the better reader they are, and this just isn’t true.  There are different times when reading fast is necessary.  For example, when you need to quickly skim and scan to find an answer.  However, to read as fast as you can just so that you can be done quicker has never proven to help out with overall comprehension, so have her slow down and really take in what she is reading.

Motivation could be another factor here as well.  So whenever you have the opportunity to provide choices for your child, you will want to do so.  Kids choosing what they want to read has always been a huge motivator to slow down and understand what they are reading.

For more tips on each of these signs you can watch the video below.  Is there a sign that you have noticed from your child, and you are wondering if they have a problem?  Let me know, and we can brainstorm some solutions that might help.


Take a Picture of your Child Reading Photo Contest

Take a Picture of your Child Reading Photo Contest

I love seeing kids read.  Seriously, my heart beats a little quicker, and the joy in my heart raises.  When the parents of my students tell me that their child now readschild reading books at night in their bed, when they never used to before, I feel this sense of accomplishment.  That is when I know that I have done my job. I want to motivate kids to read, that’s why I teach kids to read, and that’s why I write books.

I know that other people feel the same way.  So I started a new contest that features your children reading.  Not only will you inspire other people by your pictures, but you also have the opportunity to win more books for you or your kids.  Everyone that submits a picture of their child reading qualifies for a $20 book spree to Amazon.  Not only does the top voted picture win, but so do the next two.  The top three entries that receive the most votes win the top prize.

So how do you enter?  All you need to do is go to this link.

Show us Your Best Picture of your Child Reading

Then submit your picture by Friday, February 28th.  Voting will take place between March 1st and March 5th.  Tell your friends and family to vote for your picture and you could be the winner.  Regardless if you win, you are a winner in my eyes because you are inspiring your children to read.

So what do yo have to lose.  Check out the page, submit a picture, and vote.  See what happens.  You just may be the next lucky winner to win a $20 book spree to Amazon.

The Secret to Reading Success: Featuring Rachel

The Secret to Reading Success: Featuring Rachel

I love connecting with my students and their parents on facebook.  I get to connect with them on a little bit more of a personal basis and find out what is going on inRachel cake their lives.  This week, one of my students, who is homeschooled made a cake for her dad.  The cool part is that she read the recipe all by herself and created this amazing dessert for her dad’s birthday.  Now this is a girl that has a mom that is constantly finding books that her daughter will want to read.  Since the library ran out of cat books that her daughter wanted to check out, they decided to try a cook book, and Rachel loved it.

She read all of the instructions herself and is super proud of her creation.  This is the secret behind motivating kids to read.  Finding what they will love, will be the key.  Her mother said that when her son was her daughter’s age she would let him check out comic books.  It didn’t matter that comic books are not conventional reading material, she knew that her son loved them and they kept him reading.

Let’s think about our own reading.  Do you like to sit down to read something that is boring and going to be hard?  Heck no.  We all like to sit down and relax with some fun reading.  Something that is interesting though is that as adults we don’t always sit down with fiction books.  Most of our time is spend reading non-fiction text.  I read books about how to improve things in my tutoring business, online marketing strategies, and self help books.  I read spiritual material and books that will improve my life.  I do occasionally sit down and read a fiction book, but certainly not as often as other material.

Rachel has keyed into something that other children are missing.  You need to read about things that you enjoy.  If you have a child that enjoys cooking, then you can check out the fun cook books at the library.  If your child wants a new pet, then have them check out a book about how to take care of that pet.  If your child enjoys comics, check out some of the great graphic novels at your library.

The biggest thing to take into consideration is your child’s interests.  When kids have a choice about what they are reading, they will be more committed to the reading process from the get go.  You won’t have to constantly nag your child to read, but you do have to consistently make it a part of your daily habits.  The more you personally read as a parent, the more that your children will read.  The more that you sit down with them at night and read to them, the less they will complain about reading.  Reading is fun!  Reading is cool!  Let’s all be great role models for our kids.  Read what you enjoy reading and allow them to read what they enjoy to read.

Here’s to the freedom of reading!  May you learn something new or be swept away to a whole new world.  The excitement and adventure await you in your next book.