Many parents are looking forward to Spring, sunshine, flowers, and the homestretch of the school year.
For parents of Dyslexic learners, the beginning of March signifies the impending doom of summer.
The questions start swirling….
What should we do during the summer? Should we do MORE tutoring? Should we do a specialized summer program? What will happen if we do nothing??
And with the questions comes the anxiety about Dyslexic children falling farther and farther behind in the classroom.
What should parents of dyslexic learners do during the summer?
Here’s the bottom line:
Every child is different and their needs will change from year to year. You are the expert on your child, and ultimately, you have to decide what it most important for your child THIS summer.
Thanks Deborah… right? How is that helpful? I’ll explain…
I am all for specialized summer programs and tutoring during the summer. There are several wonderful resources out there to help support your child academically.
Here are a few in the Portland area..
But, let’s talk about your child’s mental health.
When determining how intense to hit the books this summer, ask yourself this question in addition to the question of how far behind are they academically.
What has my child’s school year been like for them emotionally?
If your child has had a great year with peers, has had opportunity for success (in and out of school), and the struggles around homework and grades have been relatively minimal, you may decide to ramp up their academic game in the summer as they seem to be in a fantastic place to absorb additional instruction and grow by leaps and bounds.
If the answer to the above question is riddled with struggle and heartache ( which is not entirely uncommon) for you and him, then maybe a different strategy is in order.
Consider a shift in perspective.
What if the summer was a time to foster your child’s love of reading and to find out what really inspires them?
Focus on finding what makes your child get lost in a book.
- Download audio books from Learning Ally, your local library, or bookstore .
- Explore ways to use technology to allow your child to express themselves in print and be independent while exploring different genres.
- Read together as a family. This not only gives you an opportunity to connect, but also have discussions about content.
- Explore books through experience. If you are taking a vacation this summer, find a book in which the story takes place in the city you will be traveling to. Find a book focused on a subject matter that you can explore while on your trip. Be creative!
Try new things and explore areas of strength.
- Sign up for a workshop through your local recreation department
- Take a class that is not academically focused.
- Explore new environments in your area and conduct research using assistive technology to help.
- Listen to Public radio and Podcasts on specific topics of interest.
Again, every family will determine what is best for them and their child.
Consider the possibility that summer can be a time for enrichment, growth, and exploration of your child’s ability rather than the focus being primarily on their disability.
Is this your summer to focus on academics, or exploration?
Some additional great ideas for spurring summer fun can be found in this great article from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
For more about my practice, visit my website!