10 Ways to Prime that Reading Pump for School!

Priming the reading pump

Have the reading routines in your household become a little inconsistent over the summer? It happens! Changes in routines, holidays, and visitors, are all part of the summer fun.

If this describes your family, here are 10 things you can do with your children to get the wheels turning and so they don’t feel quite so rusty next week when they settle into their new reading program at home or school.  Select activities that suit your child’s age and stage of reading growth.

1.  Review sounds.  Review all the sounds they learned last year! For older children who know most sounds, focus on digraphs.

2.  Review sight words.  Review all the sight words they learned last year. If you don’t have any lists that your child’s teacher may have sent home last year, a basic 220 word Dolch sight word list, will get you going, which can be found at www.dolchsightwordlists.org or www.sightwords.com.

3.  Write a few sentences, and get the fingers going again! (No swiping or clicking allowed, just this once.) Perhaps you spent some time with relatives over the summer, and and a thank you letter is in order! Review the format of a friendly letter while you’re at it. (Gr. 1 curriculum.)

4.  Practice printing their first and last name again, if they are young. If a little older, practice printing the date! Grab a calendar, and review the days of the week and the months of the year. (Getting ready to read those classroom timetables and charts!)

5.  Have them read to you a few more times this week than last,  just to get back into the swing of it, if you’ve been out of routine. Select books at their level. Review the ‘5 finger rule’: If you don’t know 5 or more words on the page, select another book.

6.  Re-establish the bedtime reading ritual if it has become a little inconsistent over the summer, while you are also moving back bedtime to a more suitable time for the school year.

7.  Re-establish the ‘reading with’ and ‘reading alone’ rituals, as well. Start to talk to your child about what books they might like to select for bedtime reading this year. Do you want to work through a new series? Do they have a favourite author?

8.  If your child does not already have one, get them a public library card so they have good access to books for reading pleasure, and for school research. Don’t forget that audio books are great resources for some children, especially those that are behind in reading, so they can also enjoy complex story lines at their intellectual level.

9.  Tell them about YOUR reading goals in the near future. Model your interest and appreciation for reading.

10. Above all, re-establish healthy reading routines for this coming school year that are calm, rewarding for your child, and loving!


Enjoy what you’re reading? We hope you will share with a friend, so they can enjoy it to! 


Donna Stewart

Donna-Stewart-PresidentDonna Stewart is owner of The Reading Network, which provides one-to-one private tutoring in reading and writing, online and in person. She is a former school administrator, Reading Specialist, Special Education Specialist, author, lover of literacy and e-learning.

The Reading Network

The Reading Network provides tutoring and reading intervention services  to the comfort of your home, to schools and community agencies, online, via web-conferencing software. You can find more information about The Reading Network on our website or by calling 1-519-372-5674.


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