With all the learning happening at home within the last few months due to COVID-19, summer reading loss is an even more important issue. During a typical summer, students in kindergarten through third grade lose an average of 20% of their previous year’s gains in reading or approximately two months worth of spelling and reading instruction (Thum & Hauser, 2015). That’s an incredible amount of loss! With the lack of face-to-face instruction available to students during the past few months, that amount could be even greater for this year. But no one wants to stay inside in front of a computer doing drills any more than they have to.
So, what should we do? Shoot some hoops! Below are three different games to practice their sports skills and set them up for reading success!
Warm-Up: Alphabet Practice
Your kindergarten child will love dribbling the ABC’s! A lot of the time we teach using the song, but there can be some confusion about the letters (like when your child says “lmno” as one letter!). To practice all the letters separately, write them all out on your driveway, sidewalk, etc. in chalk. Say a letter to your child and have them try to shoot a basket from that letter. So, if you said D, they would go to D and try to shoot from there!
Considering the greatest predictor of a student’s reading success is a strong foundation in phonemic awareness (Griffin and Olson, 1992), we should definitely practice these skills. Children from toddlers to pre-teens can benefit from explicit instruction in these skills. Say a word and have your child shoot a basket or pass the ball while they say the last sound in the word. If you say “kick”, they pass the ball to you and say “/k/“, if you say “ball” they say “/l/”.
Final Buzzer: Red Words!
Some words are just tricky! We frequently have beginning readers ‘sound it out’, but that can’t always help! Think about the word ‘every’ or ‘where’. We call these Red Words, or ones we can’t sound out. To help your child, play basketball to help your child practice these words. Instead of the typical ‘horse’ or ‘pig’, use a Red Word. So, if I were playing I’d say, “Let’s play Where! W-h-e-r-e. Every time I miss, I get a letter in ‘where’. If I make the shot, you have to shoot the basketball from where I was.” See who is the first one to spell the word or not!
Written by Tony Puente
Tony is a Brainspring Tutor and Livestream Facilitator with Brainspring Educator Academy.
Brainspring has proudly supported the educational community for more than 25 years.