Building a Community for Struggling Readers

Posted by Big Universe on Jul 9, 2013 8:00:02 PM


With summer vacation in full swing, it is too easy to let the school year's required daily 20-minute readings slide by the wayside. As we all juggle work-life responsibilities, we need some R&R. But we have to remember that typical students -- and those who struggle with reading -- need to keep their current reading skills sharp over the summer. No one wants to reenter school at a lower testing level than they were before school let out. Imagine Learning suggests that struggling readers could use a sort of support group, and they suggest teachers can be the ones to implement them. Yet the three three ways also apply to parents and guardians during the summer months.

1. Join Goodreads.

Although I am familiar with Goodreads, an online community of book readers, I didn’t know that they have reading groups “that are by kids, for kids. No adults allowed.” Although Imagine Learning suggests teachers make a class group “and let the kids share reviews all summer,” parents could set up a group for friends or if they are old enough join a kid/teen group.

2. Start a book club.

Once you have a group of children reading the same book, the suggestion for parents is to “get involved by recommending books or thinking up fun activities to do as a group that relate to the book of the month. For example, read Number the Stars and then visit a World War II museum exhibit.” You take a trip inspired by a book, or read up on a topic that will be relevant during or after a vacation or day trip. A trip to a water amusement park could warrant books on engineering; the beach, geology or marine biology; a historic site, brush up with some relevant history. These visits could even spark interest in an autobiography or and at-home science experiment.

3. Attend story time at the local library.

Join in on library reading programs and visit during story time. This is also one time when peer-pressure, "They all are doing it," is advantageous. Seeing peers get excited about reading programs and the motivational rewards rubs off, even on reluctant readers. I've found that most trips to the library lead to taking out new library books for home too. Marking the book due date in the calendar also helps focus the family on reading and returning, on time.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at

Topics: Literacy

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