We are often asked by parents what summer activities we would recommend. The summer is an ideal time to be making an impact on brain skill development. When the brain is not being taxed by the work and pressure of school, it can develop rapidly. Our top recommendations include reading, some excellent brain developing games, reading, activity workbooks like our Brain Boosters, Puzzlemania, Lumosity, reading and various kinds of physical activities and did I mention reading? Next week we will launch our Top 10 Educational Game Guide which will help make this summer one to remember.
Reading can be an inexpensive hobby, especially if you take advantage of your local library. They have books of all topics to reach every reader. You can get hours of enjoyment out of a book for such a small cost. Consider how long it takes to watch a movie (talk about some brain drain) and the length of time it takes to read a book.
Reading is convenient since books are so portable. You can take your book with you on road trips, to picnics, to the beach, your back deck, to the park and on and on.
The act of reading involves several comprehension brain skills. Here at Breakthroughs we believe that the brain is like a muscle: as specific areas are exercised it strengthens, but without use, over time it weakens. When students choose to read they are exercising their brain. They are using comprehension skills like the ability to track along print, to understand and make connections as they read and are able to see patterns in letters and words. Reading a novel or longer book will encourage your student's memory skills. They will need to store as well as retrieve information each time they pick up and put down their book.
We ask parents to help their child or student by encouraging discussions about what they read, what their favourite part was, what they think will happen next, what they would have changed about the story etc. These questions help your child become more involved in the story and ideally begin to internalize these questions as they read.
Perhaps you struggle to interest your child in reading at all. Often the key is finding something that interests them. There’s a book on it somewhere! Bugs, rocks, Barbie’s, video games, mummies, knights, space, animals, you name it, it’s out there. Want help? Download our short interest inventory which will help give you ideas of content your children will be interested in reading!
Check out summer reading programs! If you are in Canada check out TD’s Summer Reading Club, and if not, visit your local library and ask for information.
This summer, make a conscious effort to support reading in your household or classroom. Use this season to spark a love of reading in your children. Spend time snuggled up with a book, reading to them and talking about what you’ve read and what might happen next. For teens, find something you’re both interested in and each read the book. Discussing it together can create great bonding experiences.