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Summer reading strategies, part 1

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Academic progress and options in employment often go hand in hand, with better readers typically getting better jobs and making more money. Poor reading skills are linked to poverty and incarceration. Consider the flowing statistics reported on The K12 reading website:

  • 66% of students who reach the fourth grade without proficient reading skills end up on welfare or in prison
  • over 60% of adult inmates in the U.S prison system have reading skills at or below the fourth grade level.
  • 85% of juveniles in prison are functionally illiterate.
  • 43% adults who have extremely low reading skills survive at or below the poverty line.

But all is not lost, even for struggling readers. Reading improves with practice. Parents can improve reading skills during the summer to help students hold on to or improve gains made during the school year with 15-20 minute sessions using short comprehension passages.

Because good readers naturally predict what will happen next as they read, mysteries, such as The Disappearing Dog Dilemma, by Christy Barritt, are a popular genre to use for developing or strengthening prediction skills.

Students read the text softly to themselves while the adult provides guidance and coaching to individuals based on listening to the student read and watching for facial cues that the student is reading with ease or difficulty.

Once students have completed the reading, the adult provides ample praise and asks questions to ensure that the student has comprehended the text.

A free set of six printable comprehension passages based on the Disappearing Dog Dilemma are available on TeachersPayTeachers. These passages are consecutive so the further students read, the more background knowledge and context they have.

The passages cover Common Core standards RL 4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4. The questions span the scope of Bloom’s Taxonomy and include: recall, sequencing, explain, describe, comprehend, infer, estimate, predict, facts vs. opinion, compare and contrast, pros and cons, and figurative language.

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