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.

How to Find the Right Online Tutor

Summer time is upon is and with that means that many children will not pick up a book or do any school work.  Some teachers may suggest that some children attend summer school and some parents feel that this would ruin their entire summer.

Getting help in the summer doesn't have to be an inconvenience anymore and it can be fun if it is done through an online tutoring program with a qualified tutor.  However, the tricky part can come with finding the right tutor.  The first thing to look for is someone who specifically tutors in the area that your child is struggling.  People who specify in one area are more passionate about teaching that subject than people who say they can tutor everything.  They take the time to find out what best practices are and they have helped so many people in this area that they can quickly diagnose what areas need to be focused on.

Another thing to look for is someone that has some prior success.  You can ask for referrals from past clients and see what type of satisfaction rate they have.  I personally have my clients put any feedback they have on LinkedIn.  This way the information is public.  If you are looking for an online tutor you will want to be able to do your research about them online.  Before you contact the tutor online, you will want to get to know them first.  Type their name in google and see what comes up.  There should be videos, blogs, and success stories readily available for you to find.  If there are not, that may be an indication that the tutor is not always up to date on best practices.  An online tutor should be easy to find online.  For example, if you enter Joanne Kaminski in google you find a plethora of information.  This is because she is dedicated to being active online, offering help wherever possible, and utilizing the resources available on the internet.

Ask the tutor if there will be materials that you will be able to use in between tutoring sessions.  The tutors that know what they are doing will be able to set you up properly so that you can help out your child if you choose to.  Last summer I created a book called 31 Days to Become a Better Reader to help parents speed up the learning curve in learning to read.  The first parent who used this resource had a child that made a 3 year reading growth over the summer.

Some tutors will offer free assessments and free sessions so you can see if the tutor is a right fit for you.  Take the tutor up on this opportunity so that you can really get to know their style of teaching and determine if they really will be a right fit.

Online tutoring is easy and fun.  You want your child to enjoy the experience with the tutor and enjoy going back to each session.  The right tutor is out there for you, all you have to do is type what you need tutoring into google and you will have choices immediately.  What questions do you have about finding the right tutor?

Supertintin Rocks!

Supertintin Rocks!

I have just recently begun using a new skype recorder and I am extremely impressed with it.  It is called Supertintin and I am excited about all of the amazing features that it offers.

First, let me explain why I like using Supertintin.  Supertintin is a tool that I can use with my students.   Last night I was using it to record a session and then I used it to play it back later on. I was able to hear this student from a new perspective.  During the session I was helping her with figuring out new words, but then afterwards after listening to the replay I realized that I also need to focus on fluency with her.  Her reading is very choppy and very little personality shows through when she is reading.  That is just one of the powers of Supertintin.  This tool is going to be so helpful with my students because their teacher is going to be more cognizant of their reading behaviors.

Before I begin working with a student I always start with an assessment.  One of the things I have always wanted to do is tape the child before I start working with her at the end to be able to see the improvements.  I currently have 25 students, so sometimes, even though I have written a report which tells me how much a child has improved, it would be really helpful have another resource to take a look at.  I think that this is a tool that parents would appreciate as well because we get accustomed to how our child is reading now and sometimes can’t see the amazing growth the child has made.

I also like the different features for recording that Supertintin offers.  Supertintin has it so that you can control which side of the webcam is being taped and allows you to tape both sides at the same time using the side by side feature.  You can even just choose to have the audio taped if you do not want to record the video.

Before you ever tape a skype session it is important to get the permission from the other person.  This can be done via you simply asking and then giving you a verbal yes or you can put it in writing and have them respond ahead of time.

I plan on using this wonderful tool not only with my students, but also to help promote up and coming authors.  I love sharing great books with my readers and I think it makes it much more interesting for them when they can meet the author through my interviews.

For all of my readers this week, Supertintin is offering an opportunity to win your own copy.  So, comment below and tell us how you would use Supertintin and may just be the lucky winner.

My Mom’s Experience as a Struggling Reader

My Mom’s Experience as a Struggling Reader

After I shared my post about my own personal struggle with reading, my mom shared her story as a struggling reader.  It was so inspiring that I decided to share it with everyone with her permission.

I was put in a reading improvement class my freshman year with one girl and 20 boys who constantly threw spit balls a


t you every time the teacher left the room. I never even started enjoying reading until I graduated from high school when I could read books that I wanted to read and not the required reading in school. We always had to read a book a month in high school but did not get to pick the book.

I even got placed lower than my twin because of my reading ability. I guess I read to you a little bit, but back when I was growing up my mom or dad never read to me. My grades did not suffer as I always was an a and b student so no one would have guessed I had a reading problem. Like you I never scored well on tests because I was a very slow reader and it took me a long time to complete a test. I guess they realized this when I was in high school but there was not a lot available.  I totally felt like I was being bullied in that reading improvement class especially with 20 other boys throwing spit balls at me all the time.
I guess this is one of the reasons why I never wanted to go to college as I had had enough with going through high school and never getting any better grades than my sister. Although I did have my winning personality back then and it helped me get by.
When we went to Scottsdale Arizona and I read that Frank Lloyd Wright accomplished more than 50% of his lifetime work after he turned 65 it made me feel as though I still had a lot to accomplish for the rest of my life.
It is experiences like this that have inspired me to continue to do what I do, which is to teach children from around the world to read via my online tutoring program.  I know that I can't stop experiences like this from happening, but I can make myself available so that the amount of time people suffer does not have to be so long.
P.S.  Did you ever struggle with reading?  What are some of your first experiences with reading?
Overcoming Dyslexia an Effective Tutoring Program for Struggling Readers

Overcoming Dyslexia an Effective Tutoring Program for Struggling Readers

There are so many fantastic books out there that discuss what dyslexia is and provide awareness of this learning disability.  But, the one that sticks out the most for me is Sally Shaywtiz’s book Overcoming Dyslexia because it doesn’t only identify what dyslexia is, it provides solutions to how to overcome it.Sally Shaywitz


As an online tutor that is constantly helping struggling readers I have read this book, listened to it on audiobook, and have read it again.  Not many books get my attention for me to do this, so that is a clear indicator that this book is special.


Sally Shaywitz has spent her entire career learning about Dyslexia and teaching people with this disability.  (I just want to quickly mention, that just because someone has this disability does not mean he/she is not capable in many other areas of life).  In her book Overcoming Dyslexia she discusses cutting edge teaching practices that make an impact on learning.  These same teaching practices I found out were the same exact principles that I spent 5 years learning about while I was part of the Reading First Grant program at the Milwaukee Academy of Science.


The Reading First Grant focused their attention on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.  Sally discusses ways to teach children with dyslexia in each of these areas.  It seems to come down to best teaching practices.  This is why the Reading First Grant focused on educating teachers in these best teaching practices.


If you are a parent or educator who has a need to know more dyslexia, then I highly recommend this book.  There is a lot of information to soak up and some very deep theoretical language, but if you are persistent and allow the information to soak up by taking it in you will be able to learn what to do for dyslexics.  In my own online tutoring program for struggling readers I incorporate the strategies she talks about and use the information to enhance my students learning engagement.  Thank you Sally Shaywitz for adding so much to the awareness of dyslexia.

Renee Love’s Story of Dyslexia and an Effective Dyslexic Intervention Program

Renee Love’s Story of Dyslexia and an Effective Dyslexic Intervention Program


October is National Dyslexia Awareness month, so there will be several posts this month dedicated to understanding this learning disability. Today I have interviewed a client that is an adult that has suffered from Dyslexia and what her experience was a result. Her name is Renee Love and she enlisted my services about a year ago to help increase her reading level.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What was your first experience you remember with reading?

Renee: My grandmother reading Rumplestiltsken. I remember being fascinated with the idea of spinning gold.

Skyping Reading Tutor: Were you read to a lot as a child?

Renee: Yes, I Remember being read to fairly regularly by lots of different people.

Skyping Reading Tutor: When was the first time you knew something was different?

Renee: I was reading with my grandmother and it seemed like I was understanding everything. I remember her asking me to continue reading a sentence over and over again. I didn't understand why she kept having me reread it. I thought that I was reading it correctly. She kept telling me that I was reading was as saw. I kept thinking, why would I do that.

Skyping Reading Tutor: How did your experiences effect you?

Renee: When It was explained to me that I was dyslexic I was relieved that there was a reason. At the same time a lot of people assumed I had more limitations than I actually did.

Skyping Reading Tutor: How did dyslexia affect your overall school experiences?

Renee: It really made school miserable. I was constantly teased and felt singled out a lot because they would put me in special reading classes. It didn't seem that people really understood what the problem was and what my limitations actually were.

Skyping Reading Tutor: You graduated from high school and got a masters. How were you able to accomplish that?

Renee: Belief that I was intelligent enough and a lot of late nights. Some very cooperative and helpful teachers also guided me through my studies.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What was your experience online like with the Skyping reading tutor?

Renee: Amazing, enlightening, and extremely helpful. She found what I needed to improve on and helped give me the confidence to discover things that I didn't know I could do.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What would you like to say to kids who are struggling with this today?

Renee: You are not alone and don't get discouraged there is still lots you can do.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What is some advice that you have for parents that are going through this with their child?

Renee's mom: Patience and continue to have a positive attitude and praise. Still read to them.

Renee: My mom made herself available consistently to get through material. Recognize that it is not your child's fault. It needs to be dealt with in the best manner possible.

Today Renee has focused on what her talents are and shares them with the world. The picture that you see above is a water color painting she did of my children. You can check out her work at She is also going to be illustrating the cover of my new book 31 Days to a Become a Better Reader. Just because Renee has dyslexia does not mean that she is not a very accomplished woman. She has a bubbly personality and has a unique talent to capture people's essence through her painting.

Success Story in Online Tutoring Program

Success Story in Online Tutoring Program

Online Tutoring ProgramToday I get to feature one of my students that I had this summer with my online tutoring program and she is an absolute inspiration to all.  First of all let me explain who I am.  My name is Joanne Kaminski and I am also known as the Skyping Reading Tutor.  I tutor children all over the world in reading and it is my personal mission to help 10,000 people become better readers.

This post is about a little girl named Ruby.  When I first began working with Ruby she was a first grade student reading at a Kindergarten level.  According to her mom, Ruby had been part of a literacy intervention group at her elementary school. A few weeks before I began working with her in May of 2010 she was dismissed from that group. It was pointed out to Ruby’s mom that she was on the low end of the normal range for her school's 1st grade standards.

Her mom was concerned about her because she has had other delays - crawling, walking, talking, alphabet, writing, penmanship, math, etc. She had mentioned that she was a very hard worker. Ruby’s mom had mentioned that Ruby was prone to anxiety when she didn’t think she could live up to expectations. On several occasions I experienced Ruby breaking down due to this anxiety and my heart just went out for her.  Her mom had mentioned that it was not uncommon for Ruby to say she didn’t know the answer rather than risk answering incorrectly.


When I started working with Ruby sight words were particularly problematic for her, both to read them and to spell them.  Her mom was unsure where she should be with regards to comprehension, but felt that might be an issue as well.  She had even mentioned there might be a possibility for dyslexia, but after the initial assessment we were able to put that thought to rest.  She did not have dyslexic tendencies.


Ruby was an A+ tutoring student in my mind.  She showed up on time to each session, if she wasn’t able to make it a session her mom let me know.  Ruby showed up to her sessions with an earnest desire to learn.  She made further gains than was projected even possible with just 1 hour of instruction a week for 3 months.


She has gone from the bottom of her class by the end of 1st grade to the top of the class at the beginning of 2nd grade.  She is currently reading 2 and ½ grade levels above where she was reading back in May.  She is starting off her 2nd grade year with a renewed confidence in reading and is no longer in need of tutoring.  She has graduated from the online tutoring program.  What a blessing this family was and now, because of the tutoring that Ruby has received she is set for the rest of her educational career.


What part of this story touches you?