10 Summer Reading Tips for Kids with Special Needs

These 10 summer reading tips make it easier to keep kids with special needs reading all summer long.

The middle of July. The time when the novelty of summer has worn off and getting the kids to read gets harder and harder. These 10 summer reading tips make it easier to keep kids with special needs reading all summer long.

10 Summer Reading Tips for Kids with Special Needs

Tip #1: Be Consistent

Most kids with special needs love structure. They crave routine. So try to read in the same time and place every day.

Tip #2: Read Short Segments

Break the story down into small segments. Dscuss each segment once it’s been read. Ask questions like these: Who are the characters in this story? Where does this story take place? What do you think might happen next?

Tip #3: Count the Pages or Paragraphs

To motivate kids to move on to short chapter books, count and record the number of pages read on an index card at the end of reading time. Or consider each paragraph as an achievement and count those.

Tip #4: Relate the Story to Real Life

Story details are easier for kids to understand if they relate to their lives. So select books with characters, stories, or places similar to your child’s experiences. When reading together, ask questions like these: Does this remind you of something? Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever gone to a place like that? What did you do when you were there?

Tip #5: Use All Five Senses

Children with special needs often learn by by using multiple senses. So listen to an audio version while following along on the written page. This gives them the ability to “see” the text and to “hear” it at the same time. If a book is on DVD, act out the story along with the characters on the screen.

Tip #6: Use Art to Reinforce the Story

Make construction paper cutouts of scenes from the book, color pictures that depict events in the plot, or make figures out of clay or play-dough to reinforce what’s been read.

Tip #7: Use Repetition. Reading the same story nightly or reread certain segments to clarify what happened. Repeat the story together at bedtime to establish the story in a child’s mind and improve comprehension.

Tip #8: Stop Reading

If a book doesn’t capture your attention or your child’s, stop reading it. Otherwise the desire to read may dwindle completely.

Tip #9: Read Paper Books

Paper books are less distracting then a Kindle, Nook or iPad. So stick with paper books whenever possible.

Tip #10: Read with Your Kids

Offer to buy members of your family a book a month. Make the selections together and then read one another’s books (or read them aloud together) and discuss them.

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These 10 summer reading tips make it easier to keep kids with special needs reading all summer long.

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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