When summer arrives, students breathe a collective sigh of relief because they can shelve the books, rulers and pencils for a few months of relaxation and play. However, the downside to all this free time is that kids might lose some of their hard-earned reading skills.
Whether a child is passionate about books or indifferent, it’s important that parents try to make reading part of the summer’s daily routine. Arlene Scott, a consultant for elementary English language arts for the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), suggests parents continue to read to their children (even older ones) and make sure kids see their parents reading as well.
However, if your child struggles with reading, the summer can be an ideal time to catch up through more structured programs. There are several options available around town.
The LBPSB offers an intensive two-week French or English reading program for select students entering grade 3 in the fall. The program, which accepts 80 students based on a teacher’s recommendation, includes a structured reading program in the morning and then fun activities in the afternoon. Students are grouped together based on their needs so they can feel supported by their peers.
Students experiencing considerable difficulty due to dyslexia or a learning disability may want to check out the Learning Associates of Montreal’s intensive three-week program.
“We offer a specialized program geared towards struggling readers using a structured phonetic approach founded on evidence-based practices,” says Susan Fairbrother, the reading program’s coordinator.
The ratio of teacher-to-student is almost one-on-one, giving students a lot of quality reading support. Students are also grouped by reading ability.
The English Montreal School Board offers a two-week reading program aimed at boys who are reluctant readers. Called Bouncing Boys Back to Books, the program combines sports (with a focus on basketball), reading and interactive media activities to build literacy skills
The program was co-founded in 2008 by teacher Pamela Price from Westmount Park elementary school, who saw too many boys lose interest in reading. During the program, each boy partners with a buddy for reading, and there are often guests, like police officers, who read from their favourite books.
It’s not just those struggling readers who can benefit from a boost in the summer. Even book lovers might enjoy the camaraderie and fun of joining one of the summer book clubs offered at local libraries. Children in the West End might want to check out the program offered by the Montreal West children’s library. Children can explore different reading themes, and after keeping track in a “passport” of 10 books read, they can pick an item from a prize box. The program is open to all residents of Montreal once they have become members of the library. You can also check with your local library to see if they have a similar reading club.
Many local libraries participate in the TD Summer Reading Club. Participants sign up at the library and get a code that gives them access to a special TD reading website; kids will find book suggestions, silly stories, games, jokes and more. Some books are available to read free online.
Encouraging and supporting reading habits is a gift any parent can give a child. And the payoff can last a lifetime, as strong readers tend to do better all the way through school. So don’t let the summer mean a break from reading; rather see it as an opportunity to dive in and experience the unique pleasure that comes from being absorbed in a book.
Summer reading programs
Lester B Pearson School Board
www.lbpsb.qc.ca • (514) 422-3000
If you are interested, speak with your child’s teacher.
The Learning Associates of Montreal
www.learnmtl.org • (514) 989-9360
4203 Ste. Catherine St. W., Westmount
Bouncing Boys Back to Books
Contact Pamela Price at firstname.lastname@example.org • (514) 935-4388
Camp takes place at 15 Park Pl., Westmount
TD Summer Reading Club
Participating Montreal libraries: Cote St. Luc, Dorval, Kirkland, La Bouquine de Ville-Marie, Montreal East, Mount Royal, Greenfield Park, Montreal, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Namur, D.D.O, Pointe Claire, and Westmount
Montreal West Children’s Library
www.mwcl.ca • (514) 484-7194
314 Northview St., Montreal West