An enthusiastic young child engrossed in reading a colorful children's book, cultivating a love for learning and literacy.

Parent’s Guide to Engaging Dyslexic Children in Summer Reading

As an educated and involved parent, you understand the importance of keeping your child’s learning trajectory moving forward, even during those carefree summer months. This is especially vital when it comes to maintaining and improving your child’s reading and writing abilities. You may have heard of the ‘summer slide,’. This is a term educators use to describe the potential regression in skills during extended breaks from school. It’s a real concern, particularly for children who have encountered challenges in these areas. But, don’t fret. The ‘summer slide’ is entirely manageable. and with the right reading strategies, turning it into a ‘summer stride’ is simpler than you might think!”

Let’s delve into some effective reading strategies that will not only maintain the progress your child has made over the past academic year.

Reading Strategy: Discover specialty

For dyslexic students, ‘what’ they’re reading is exceptionally important – sometimes, it’s even the deciding factor between a reluctant reader and an enthusiastic one. So how do we ensure the ‘what’ keeps them engaged? The answer lies in their ‘specialty.’

First, let’s clarify what we mean by a ‘specialty.’ Unlike favorite school subjects, which may or may not truly reflect a dyslexic child’s interests, a ‘specialty’ is something that truly sparks their curiosity, captivates their attention, and engages their minds – even outside the structured school environment. It’s what your child would willingly spend time on, even when they have a world of options.

Identifying this ‘specialty’ is your first step to creating a personalized reading experience for your dyslexic child. Engage them in open conversations about their interests and hobbies, pay close attention to the activities they naturally gravitate towards, and observe what truly brings them joy and intrigue. Remember, the question isn’t “What’s your favorite school subject?” but rather “What do you love doing most when you can do anything?”

Once you’ve discovered their ‘specialty,’ focus on providing reading materials related to this area of interest. It could be books about dinosaurs or mysteries for a child who loves puzzles, novels about space exploration for those intrigued by the cosmos, or articles and books on painting techniques for budding artists. These are the texts that will keep them consistently engaged.

By immersing themselves in their ‘specialty,’ your child will be more inclined to read, explore, and learn. And in the process, they’ll be honing their reading skills without even realizing it because they’re immersed in what they love.

Explore the World of Audiobooks to Support Reading

Once your child’s ‘specialty’ has been identified and relevant reading materials selected, the next crucial step to support their reading journey is by incorporating audiobooks. This approach can serve as a reliable crutch for dyslexic students, helping them navigate and overcome their reading concerns.

One reliable source for audiobooks is, an Amazon-owned platform offering an extensive library. I’ve found that a monthly membership is economical if you’re planning to use a large number of books. With a membership, you can purchase an audiobook for approximately $12-$15, providing substantial savings. They also have a generous return policy that allows you to return the book if it doesn’t resonate with your child.

A critical point to remember is the importance of the narrator. Your child will spend significant time listening to the audiobook while following along in the printed book. Therefore, the narrator’s voice must be, at a minimum, agreeable to them. In most cases, having a narrator they genuinely enjoy can transform the experience from a task into a delight.

For many struggling readers, the Harry Potter series can be a good starting point. The quality of the narration is excellent and appeals to most children. However, if your child prefers another narrator or cannot find a suitable audiobook for their chosen reading material, an app like Speechify can be a fantastic backup. While the premium version costs $139 a year, its ability to convert any text to audio using a chosen voice can make the investment worth it.

The reading strategy of aligning written material with its audio counterpart, adjusting the reading speed, and engaging with the content is an effective way to keep dyslexic children engaged and help them overcome reading challenges.

Reading Strategy: Providing Specialty-Driven Treats as Incentives

Rewards tailored to your child’s specialty can be powerful motivators in their reading journey. Let your dyslexic student choose their rewards based on their interests – they could be as simple as a trip to their favorite ice cream shop, or an afternoon spent with their best friend doing what they love. These rewards don’t have to be expensive; they just need to resonate with what your child genuinely values and enjoys.

Take Drake, for example. A dedicated reader who loved a particular ice cream shop. After achieving specific reading milestones, Drake was allowed to visit this shop with a friend and indulge in a banana split. Not only did this give Drake a tangible goal to strive for, but it also turned his reading journey into an exciting endeavor. The result? He found himself making frequent trips to the ice cream shop (a testament to his consistent reading progress), and his reading skills improved dramatically over the summer.

Remember, when incentives align with your dyslexic child’s specialty, the reward becomes an extension of their interests. It turns their reading practice into a rewarding experience, making them eager to read more, thereby mitigating the dreaded “summer slide.”

In the end, it’s all about sparking joy in their reading journey. They’re more likely to embrace reading when they associate it with a beloved activity or treat. Find the sweet spot in your dyslexic child’s specialty, and they’ll find joy in reading by using this reading strategy.

Cultivating a Specialty-Driven Reading Ritual

Involving your dyslexic child in a shared reading ritual can be a game-changer. The ritual can be crafted around their specialty, instilling a habit of consistent engagement with the material they are passionate about. This will not only fuel their interest but also improve their reading skills significantly.

Commence the reading ritual by selecting material aligned with your child’s specialty. You might have a stack of comic books for the budding artist, science magazines for the young inventor, or adventure novels for the aspiring explorer. Remember, this material should be something that your child looks forward to reading.

Take turns reading aloud to each other. When you read, your child gets to hear the flow of language and see how the sentences unfold. When they read, it gives them a chance to practice their reading skills. You can also alternate this with silent reading sessions, fostering an environment of shared quiet concentration.

Consistency in this ritual is key. Find a time slot that works best for your child, be it a relaxed weekend afternoon or a peaceful hour before bedtime. Make this a special, cherished time dedicated solely to exploring their specialty through reading.

Pairing the written material with an audiobook, if available, can also be a part of this ritual. This dual-input approach encourages your child to read along with the narration, facilitating better understanding and word recognition.

Cultivating such a specialty-driven reading ritual can be instrumental in transforming your dyslexic child’s relationship with reading. It reframes reading from a challenging task to an enjoyable exploration of their interests, while also consistently honing their reading skills.

Turning Library Visits into Audiobook Adventures

A visit to your local library can be an expedition into your dyslexic child’s specialty and an adventure in discovering new audio material. This transformative journey can empower your child to select their reading material, incorporating both their specialty and an exploration into the world of audiobooks.

Begin by introducing your dyslexic child’s specialty to your local librarian. Librarians are skilled navigators of the literary world and can guide you to an array of materials related to your child’s specialty. Whether your child is fascinated by dinosaurs, intrigued by science experiments, or absorbed in the world of fantasy, the librarian can direct you to books, magazines, and other resources that will captivate your interest.

Once you’ve selected potential written materials that align with your child’s specialty, it’s time to venture into the realm of audiobooks. Many libraries offer an extensive collection of audiobooks. Discuss matching your chosen reading material with its corresponding audiobook with your librarian. If the library doesn’t have the audiobook, remember that digital platforms like Audible or apps like Speechify can provide an audio version.

Ensure that your child finds the audiobook’s narrator agreeable to listen to. As we’ve emphasized earlier, your child’s connection with the narrator can greatly influence their engagement and comprehension. If the narrator isn’t to their liking, consider looking for an alternative book or use the Speechify app, which allows you to choose from a variety of voices.

Reading Strategy: Create Dyslexic-Friendly Book Club

Taking the reading journey, a step further, consider organizing a Specialty-Based Dyslexic-Friendly Book Club. This approach provides a dynamic platform to engage dyslexic children, reinforcing their reading skills.

To begin, assemble a group of children, keeping the size manageable. This could be a mix of dyslexic and non-dyslexic children, all with shared interests. Next, select a book that aligns with the shared ‘specialty’ of the group. The book’s content should be stimulating and appeal to the children’s shared passion. Remember, interest is the driving factor for engagement in dyslexic children.

Once the book is chosen, ensure an audio version is accessible. You can use platforms like Audible or apps like Speechify, as previously mentioned, to get audiobooks or convert the text into audio format. The chosen book should have an audiobook with a narrator that the children find agreeable and enjoy listening to. This dual-input approach is critical, allowing dyslexic children to follow along with the written material while listening to the audiobook.

Set a timeline for reading and a date for the book discussion. Encourage the children to pace themselves, reading and listening concurrently, while also engaging with the material. They can jot down what the main character or hero in the book wants to achieve, further reinforcing comprehension.

When the discussion day arrives, create a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere. Allow the children to express their thoughts about the book, discuss their favorite parts, share what they learned, and even express any difficulties they faced during reading. This group discussion not only fosters a sense of community but also allows them to exercise and enhance their comprehension and communication skills.


By transforming reading into a collaborative and specialty-centered activity, you will help dyslexic children reinforce their reading abilities in a fun, engaging, and social environment. Furthermore, the integration of audiobooks supports their unique learning approach, reinforcing their comprehension skills, and bolstering their confidence. Follow any reading strategy and see the results.

Remember, as parents, your involvement is pivotal. It does not matter which reading strategy you will follow. But while following the reading strategy Your support and encouragement can turn the dreaded ‘summer slide’ into a delightful ‘summer stride.’ And remember, it’s not just about reading—it’s about nurturing a love for the written word that will carry your child through school and beyond.”

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