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.

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?



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.

Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along is Published

Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along is Published

Today is an extremely exciting day for my friend Renee and I.  We have created our first picture book together and it is live on Amazon Front_Cover_of_Three_Little_Sisters_Learn_to_Get_Alongbeginning today.  It is called Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along.  It is about three little sisters that yell, pinch, fight, and kick.  When the mother sees how her little girls are not getting along she becomes extremely distressed.  She teaches her girls how to use “I messages” and at once the sisters learn that there are other ways to resolve their problems. There are parent pages at the end that help parents with some ways to help their children in  a calm manner when their kids are not getting along.  Let’s face it.  This is a reality for our kids, they will fight, but now there is a healthy solution to make things right.

This book is perfect for anyone that has kids or knows anyone that has kids.  The illustrations engage kids of all ages and the text is at a 2nd grade reading level.  Below in the Amazon carousel you will find all of the books that we have created and are published through For the Love of Books Publishing.  I have also added a book in the carousel that I featured a few weeks ago by my friend Kat Kirst called Snitch.

Three Little Girls Learn to Get Along

Three Little Girls Learn to Get Along

Yesterday I promised to share my next book with you.  Renee who is co-owner of For the Love of Books, LLC will be creating pictures to go along with it.  After Renee did a picture of my three little girls in a tree and then I heard them arguing I became inspired to write it.  I would love feedback on what you like about it and things that you think that could make it better.  This book is set to be released in January.

Three little sisters sitting in a tree


First came the lies

Then came the names

Next came the petty threats of no more games

Katelyn punched my back

Becca squeezed my arm


She hit me first

I don’t like her

So went the arguing, then there was more

The third little sister

Joined in the fight


                She kicked them near

She kicked them far

She kicked them everywhere, even in the car

The mother saw this picture

And became very sad

She knew that her children were not that bad

She talked about peace

She talked about love

She talked about sisters that fit like a glove

She said they use nice words

Talk about feelings

I feel hurt

That makes me sad

These were the words that don’t make others feel too bad.

The three little sisters apologized


That’s a big word

But feels real good

Their mother knew they could and they would

Now the sisters play nice

and get along


Sometimes they fight

But they don’t forget

To think about feelings without regret


The three little sisters hug each other


Harmony is the song of getting along

Today it doesn’t have to be about who is right or wrong.

How the Skyping Reading Tutor is as Good as or Better than the Mail Delivery System

How the Skyping Reading Tutor is as Good as or Better than the Mail Delivery System

A song came to my head today as I thought about what I do and it is by George Strait called Overnight Male.


A little girl today who lives in Texas came to her reading session today even the power in her house and her neighborhood went out.  I often have stories like this when there are rainstorms or snowstorms which would normally render us cancelling sessions, but in my profession and with my delivery, we don’t have to cancel anything.


So I dedicate this new song to all of my students and my promise to each of them.reading Tutoring


Let me be your reading tutor and I’ll always come through.
There’s no denyin’, come rain or shine,
I’ll deliver my lessons to you.
I do things by the letter, you can put your trust on me
‘Cause there ain’t nobody better than Joanne Kaminski

Like a pony express in the wild, wild west
I’ll Skype with you all night long.
And I can raise your reading level, get you there ahead of the class
Long before the dawn.
You know your reading tutor will be there for you
Come snow, rain, sleet or hail
‘Cause I’m a top flight, hold-you-tight,
Get-you-there-by-daylight, do-you-right skyping reading tutor.

I know your reading fluency is fragile, so I’ll handle it with care.
There ain’t no doubt, I know practice is the route,
So kiddo let me take you there.
I’ll bring you books at your level, but I know just what you need.
Just give me 8-12 hours satisfaction guarantee.

Like a pony express in the wild, wild west
I’ll Skype with you all night long.
And I can raise your reading level, get you there ahead of the class
Long before the dawn.
You know your reading tutor will be there for you
Come snow, rain, sleet or hail
‘Cause I’m a top flight, hold-you-tight,
Get-you-there-by-daylight, do-you-right skyping reading tutor

Yeah I’m a top flight, hold you tight,
Get you there by daylight, do you right skyping reading tutor.

Joanne Kaminski’s Journey as a Struggling Reader

Joanne Kaminski’s Journey as a Struggling Reader

Skyping Reading Tutor

My name is Joanne Kaminski, the Skyping Reading tutor, and this is my journey as a struggling reader.  My very first memory of reading was when I was 5 years old.  I was sitting in my living room and we had all of our family over the house for Thanksgiving.  I brought out a book and I asked my mom to teach me how to read.  Well, I bet you can imagine, she was a little bit busy that day and she said, “no.”  I didn’t give up there.  I went on to my cousin Cathy and asked her to teach me to read.  She was 5 years older than me and she had the same response as my mom.  I was heartbroken that no one would teach me how to read.  So, I longingly looked at the words in the book wishing that they would somehow jump off of the page and into my brain so that I could hear the story that was written.  No one really ever read to me, so I didn’t know that this was an option.  All I knew was that the words on that page conveyed a story and I wanted to know it.


I would like to tell you that I kept asking and found someone that would help me learn how to read, but I gave up that day.  My mom saw how much I loved stories and eventually she got my some books on tape.  Yes, they were tapes back in those days.  She must have signed up for a Disney subscription because I remember Sleeping Beauty and Brer Rabbit very clearly.


When I began learning how to read in school everyone was ahead of me.  I was in the lowest reading group, the Blue Jays, and I knew it.  All I wanted more than anything in the world was to become a better reader.  I mean, didn’t these people know what I was going to do for the rest of my life? Didn’t they know that one day I would own my own e tutoring company and that I just wanted to get a head start?  Apparently I knew my calling from a very early age, everyone else just was not on the same page as me.


I remember when we would have to read out loud in class in round robin style.  When I would read out loud, I didn’t sound like the other kids.  The teacher would give me advice about making my voice go up and down in front of all the other kids.  The other kids never got this kind of advice and this made feel more self-conscious about my reading.  Back then they didn’t have reading fluency interventions.  So I felt like there was something wrong with me.


As school continued I scored poorly on the state tests and continued to get put in the lowest reading group.  I remember in 6th grade kids started to take a foreign language, but because of my reading comprehension scores I was denied this and put in another reading program for struggling readers.


I felt less than, devalued, and diminished.  Even the kids in the reading class made fun of me.  I felt stupid and worthless.  I continued on my middle school years this way, which were some of the toughest days of my life.


One day a teacher at a parent/teacher conference suggested to my mom that she read with me.  My mom took her up on this suggestion and began reading Anne of Green Gables.  She would read a page and then I would read a page.  This was my most prized memory of reading with my mom.  It built a feeling of being loved and accepted all while being immersed in Anne’s world inCanada.  I found out later on in life that my dad’s whole family came fromPrince Edward   Islandwhere the story took place.  Anne of Green Gables became a series and I read every single book in that series.  This is were I got my mantra, if you hook a reader into a series, then you hook him/her into reading for life.


This was the first book that I ever read over and over again.  I remembered the beautiful trees that were described in the beginning of the story when Anne was first arriving at Green Gables.  It captured my heart.  I remember how talkative Anne was and fell in love with this imaginative little girl.  I could relate with the character and I longed to experience life in this book as Anne.


Today, I am no longer at the bottom of my class.  I graduated fromMarquetteUniversitywith Suma Cum Laude.  I went on to get my masters and graduated as a Reading Specialist with a 4.0.  I struggled to get where I am today and reading was never easy as a child, but I love reading more than anything else in the world.  I love to learn and immerse myself in learning new things and above all I love teaching kids to read.  I take into account the feelings that kids struggling go through because I was one of those kids.  I incorporate positive reinforcement techniques and make kids feel like they are good enough, smart enough, and wonderful enough to accomplish the things that they want to accomplish in life.  I tell my students that it doesn’t matter what level they are reading at right now.  I will get them far beyond where they need to be.  I have tips and tricks that have gotten me through school and I had to learn the hard way.  I teach them these tips and tricks and make learning easy for them.


No child should be made to feel less than because he/she does not learn the typical way that is acceptable in schools.  All children have a right to an appropriate education whether they are a struggling reader or not.  I am here to speed up the learning curve for kids and to find that path to educational success.  Whether a child is struggling a little bit with reading, or whether he/she is in need of a dyslexia tutoring program, I am here to help.  This is my passion and my path in life.

Day 13 of the 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge:  Make a Statement

Day 13 of the 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Make a Statement

As readers, we have so many things that go through our head that we don’t even pay attention to.  However, once we begin to pay attention to them, we can begin to recognize whether we are understanding what we are reading or not.

One of those strategies is called making a statement.  For example, some statements include;

  1. Wow, that is really neat.
  2. I never thought of that before.
  3. That is so true.
  4. I never knew that before.


These statements don’t really lead to anything, but if you find that you are making them, then you are definitely understanding what you are reading.  You can’t comment or say something to yourself if your mind is blank and you are just reading the words.

As a parent you can do this by making a comment or statement when you are reading, tell your child that a comment just happened in your head and you just wanted to share it with him/her.  Ask if your child ever does that when he/she is reading.  If he/she says yes, then ask him/her to tell you about that.  If he/she says no, then ask them if any come to the head when you reading together today.  Your child may find that he or she is doing it, but since he/she didn’t have a name for it that he/she wasn’t aware of it.  Or, you may have the opportunity to teach it to your child.  Either way it is a great technique.  Tomorrow we will be taking a look at how prefixes can help increase comprehension.

Day 2 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Begin Reading

Day 2 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Begin Reading


Today’s challenge is to simply start reading the book that you have chosen together. You may have already started doing this because your child was so excited. But, in case you didn’t there are some things to think about.

1. How to read the book
2. Commit to 30 minutes a day

First, you want to think about how you are going to read the book. Some kids like to read one page while the parent reads the other page. However, for some kids this is overwhelming. If this is the case, then I suggest that you switch off after each paragraph. This will give your child more breaks and make both of you feel less stressed out.

I highly suggest that you stay away from each of you switching off by chapters. I have noticed that kids seem to lose attention pretty quickly and that it is difficult to keep them on task.

The suggestions that you will get in the days to come will help with what to do if you notice that your child is off task. To begin with you shouldn’t notice that this is much of an issue because they are usually really excited to begin this process with a book that they have chosen with you.

Second, you want to make at least a 30 minute commitment to this activity each day. If the parent is reading half of the pages, then your child is reading for about 15-20 minutes. Children should read for at least 15 minutes a day. With summer and warm weather approaching, many children will feel tempted to play outside or play their video games instead of immersing themselves with a good book.

Studies have been done which correlate the number of minutes a child reads at home to SAT scores. Not so surprisingly, the children that read for the most minutes at home ended up with the highest scores. I am sure that there are other factors in place here with this study, but if the solution to high SAT scores was reading with your child for 30 minutes a night, wouldn’t it be worth it. Check out the results of a dad who made this commitment and this one girl’s success.

Happy reading!

31 Days to a Better Reader

31 Days to a Better Reader

Everyone wants to make sure that the children in their life are able to read easily and effortlessly.

No parent or teacher ever thinks, “Gosh I  hope that my child will struggle with reading.  It sure would add a lot of adversity to their life.”  Therefore, we always want to be able to do everything that we absolutely can to make sure that kids have the tools that they need to do the very best that they are capable of doing.

In this information age it is pivotal that children be able to read.  There isn’t anything that they will partake in that will not include reading.  We all know that, but sometimes it is hard to convince kids who don’t actually enjoy reading to understand it’s importance.  Who wants to do something that is either hard or boring.

Over the next 31 days you are going to get tips and tricks that will turn any child into a better reader.  Are you ready for a challenge that will motivate your child, build bonding time with your child, and help him or her with reading all at the same time?  This is the perfect time for this challenge.  The time is NOW!  Whether your child already loves to read or doesn’t, they can always become better.

My name is Joanne Kaminski and I am also known as the Skyping Reading Tutor.  I have been teaching kids to read for over 10 years, have a Masters in Reading and have starting my own reading tutoring company called Bright IDEA Reading Tutoring where I provide online reading tutoring.  The tips and tricks that you will learn are based off of my own experiences of what works best with kids.  I utilize brain research and how kids learn best and actually retain the information that they are learning.

Tomorrow starts day 1 of the challenge.  Subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss one single day of this challenge and turn your loved little ones become a better reader.