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Teaching Reading Strategies in the Summer

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I know everyone always says summer school is a huge pain, and when you’re a one-on-one SEIT or interventionist you have to come up with all your own plans. To read about why I actually love that, click here! This summer I’m focusing on teaching reading strategies. I’m going to walk you through why I choose reading strategies, and how to break it down.

This summer we are going to be reading machines! Me because I always am, and my kiddos because that’s what I’ve identified as the area where they have the most potential. I determined what potential they have based on their strengths and weaknesses. If I’m working in an area where they’re weak, I want to also integrate an area where they are strong.

My ultimate goal is to improve their ability to utilize these skills independently. It’s appropriate that the Fourth of July is in the summer because my ultimate summer goal is for everyone to be slightly more independent with their reading strategies by the end of the summer!

Let’s break it down. When I asked myself what I need to teach this summer, I realized a lot of my kids are dependent on me asking leading questions to help them make inferences. So that’s my target, reading skills.

I spent a lot of time going over the meanings of different feelings and personality traits with them this year. They’ve gotten good at knowing what these new words mean. However, they still need to work on figuring out what clues point towards what feeling or trait.

So to recap, the weakness is making inferences based on evidence. The strength is knowing what a feeling or trait means. 

The first thing you have to do is pick either character trait or feeling.

Let your decision-making be humorous.

Let’s say you’re doing character traits. Do your kids even know what that means? Probably not. Give them a lesson on what a character trait is. If you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase the interactive slide show lesson I made here!

Do not let yourself get discouraged if they are still struggling after one lesson. Teaching reading strategies takes time. They will need a lot of practice. I always make my kids remind me what a character trait is before each practice session. 

Have them write it out by hand. I’ve found our brains remember things better if we physically write things by hand. 

Over the next few days you’re going to want to have a bunch of different reading passages or books. They should be a little easy for your kids to read, since we’re focusing on building reading strategies this summer, not the physical act of reading.

I like to ask my kids to find their evidence first by underlining three important things the character does or thinks about. Really, any sentences that hint at their personality. 

Then I will have them reread one piece of evidence. Depending on their ability level, I’ll have them rephrase it in their own words or draw a picture of what the evidence is showing, to check comprehension. 

After that I’ll ask them “What’s the character trait?” Typically they have an idea. If not I’ll give them 3-4 options of what it could be. I never want anyone to get frustrated. To get kids to do these things independently they have to think it’s fun and feel confident. 

I like to have twenty different reading passages so we can spend a month building their inference skills. However they might need more or less. 

 If finding that many reading passages sounds daunting to you, feel free to purchase the ones I made here

Eventually, I like to take my kids off the reading passages and accompanying worksheets and move them onto checklists. That way they can remember the steps for identifying a character trait in all reading passages. To purchase my reading strategies checklist, click here!

As you are work teaching reading strategies try to collect data on how many guiding questions and supports you have to give your students throughout the summer. You want to decrease the number gradually as they go along. 

When they get back to school, ask their classroom teacher or other service providers to work on this skill with them as well, make sure to show them the checklists, so your student can generalize it across environments.

Remember, you want your students to be more independent by the end of the summer. It’s okay if they still are better at reading strategies with you, but even if they can do one or two steps without you, count it as a win! 

 Even if they can do one or two steps without you, count it as a win!


The important thing when deciding what to teach in the summer is to keep in mind your student’s strengths and weaknesses. Pick your target and make sure to integrate what your kids are good at! Start small from the ground up, like with a basic lesson on what your concept is. Give your students plenty of time to practice, and try to set the goal of moving them onto a basic checklist for their new skill by the end of the summer. 

Reading skills is only one thing I’m teaching this summer. Make sure to subscribe to my email list for updates on what else I’m doing this summer and to receive my list of free or cheap websites to use with your kiddos! Click here to subscribe! 

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