Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Contact Us | Home RSS

Read with your child this summer!

May 31, 2017
Jodi L. Smith , MOV Parent

By Jodi L. Smith

Learning how to read well by the end of the third grade is essential to a child's success in school and later in life. Research shows children who have opportunities to practice reading with an adult or older youth on a regular basis show significant gains in reading achievement.

During the summer months, many children lose academic skills. This often results in children starting the new school year behind where they were the previous spring. Providing your child with opportunities to maintain and even increase reading skills during the summer is essential to your child's education.

If your child struggles with reading, there are many programs in the summer that offer opportunities to strengthen and even increase reading skills. Local libraries, schools, and universities offer summer reading programs. If your child doesn't struggle with reading, parents can do a lot at home to help their children maintain and improve skills over the summer.

Faculty members from West Virginia University Extension Service developed a program called Reading Partners, in which teen and adult volunteers, parents, older siblings and grandparents learn "shared" reading techniques that can help increase a child's love of reading. These are the same techniques used at WVU Extension Service's nationally recognized and award-winning Energy Express Summer Reading Program. Many counties in West Virginia off this program during the summer, as well as two meals a day and free books for children. Visit to find more information about the summer reading program.

Depending on your child's reading skill level, you can choose from the following shared reading techniques. Even an emergent reader, a child who is just beginning to learn the written word, can benefit from some of these strategies.

Picture Reading

The reading partner asks questions about the pictures or the child tells a story based solely on the pictures.


Before reading a page or passage, the reading partner asks the child to find punctuation marks, certain words, specific letters, the smallest or largest word or book parts.

Discovery Reading

The reading partner guides the child through a familiar book asking the child to fill in repeated phrases.

Echo Reading

The reading partner reads a passage and the child reads it back.

Unison Reading

The reading partner and child read the same passage aloud at the same time.

Whisper Reading

The reading partner reads quietly into the child's ear while the child reads aloud.

Stop and Go Reading

The reading partner and child take turns reading. The child chooses a signal to indicate wanting to read or wanting to stop so the reading partner can take a turn.

Solo Reading

The child reads to the reading partner.

In addition to the shared reading strategies, reading partners should encourage children to create art based on the stories they read. Writing and art activities related to stories can enhance the reading experience and help children improve comprehension and overall literacy development. A reading partner should give youth opportunities to make connections between reading and writing and encourage children to want to read by making it a fun experience.

Make reading fun and engaging by following some of these suggestions: 1. Select a book together that is appropriate to the child's skill level.2. Set the stage. Make a tent, find a cozy corner, select a quiet, comfortable place to read with your child. 3. After reading the book together, use one of the shared reading techniques do a book-based writing and/or art activity. Discuss what you read to reinforce and aid in reading comprehension.

Make reading come alive this summer and make it fun for your child! Developing a love of reading is key to future academic success.


Webb-Dempsey, Jaci, and Margaret Miltenberger. "Reading Partners Open the Door to Possibilities." WVU Extension Service WLG 338. Print.

Wilkins, Shirley. "How to Read with a Child." Reading Partners Training Manual. WVU Extension Service, 2005. Print.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web