It’s the beginning of a new academic year for our children. The transition from summer to the school year can be a tough for children and parents. My wife and I created a few ways to ease the transition for our sons, especially my oldest son who is starting first grade.
Here are few tips to ease the summer to school year process:
1. Provide your young dreamer with an opportunity to read independently. Before bath time, I ask one of my sons to grab a book, while the other son gets in the tub. During that time, I serve as a support to the son who is reading. I help him break down words and ask him questions about the story. This prepares for each of them for the in-class reading experience during the school year.
2. Bedtime serves an opportunity read books that reinforce values I’d like my sons to learn during the school year. I selected books centered on social emotional development, good character, appreciating life, resilience of Black people, and creativity. Exposing them to affirmation books provides a foundation for the expectations that my wife and I have for them this school year.
3. When we are not reading, we spend time on ABC Mouse. This subscription based website provides children with the fun and interactive with grade-level appropriate educational content. Completing the lessons on the site gives me the chance to understand my sons’ strengths and barriers. With this information, I can support them in their learning process or request support from their teachers.
4. Practicing decoding activities strengthens their reading. When we are working on the cvc blends or word families, it provides the boys with the tools to read independently. I’ve used flashcards with the blends, and created personalized PowerPoints.
5. My wife and I are conscious of how the length and difficulty of the school year can lead to burnout for the boys. So, we create opportunities for them to just play and relax. For example, their grandmother bought my sons a basketball court that is great way for them to have some fun!
There is no right or wrong way to get ready for the year. The preparation has to take into consideration who your young dreamer is and his or her needs.
Dr. Nosakhere Griffin-EL is the President of The Dreamocracy Learning Lab and Founder of The Young Dreamers’ Book Club. His work focuses on creating innovative programming, content, and initiatives to inspire children to view reading as a tool to create and build their dreams. Dr. Griffin-EL’s fundamental belief is that meeting children at their dreams is a powerful way to teach them the importance of reading. Follow him on Twitter @drgriffinel