Saturday, May 25, 2013

ADHD Summer Bucket List for Kids

With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us, we all know that summertime fun has finally arrived. However, the kind of fun you have in mind may be different from the fun your child is thinking about, especially if he or she is challenged with ADHD.

So, how can a parent plan well for the summer break when a child has ADHD? In this week's article, we're serving up a pretty good summer bucket list with what we think has just the right mix of strategies, activities and resources for your child and you. We hope you'll both agree!

Time for Physical Activity & Good Exercise

First and foremost, plan for plenty of physical activity. Walking with your child to the park or in your neighborhood are great ways to begin to work in movement and exercise into a daily routine, particularly if you experienced a prolonged winter season this year in your area. While at the park, encourage a climb on the monkey bars to help improve balance and brain connectivity. Scheduling this activity at or near a set time of the day will add structure to your child’s summer routine, which is very important for individuals of any age with ADHD. You may be surprised to learn that you’ll also have some of the best conversations with your child during these little walks and park visits. Exercise will help improve the quality of sleep for both of you, too.

Reading Time Fun

You’ll want to remember to set aside some “quiet time” for reading, too. Again, plan a specific time to read. This often works best when it is planned after a period of physical activity. Visiting the local library on a regular basis will yield great results, whether you walk or ride there. Good conversations about books will stimulate both of you, and you will learn a great deal about your child---his reading preferences, his learning style, his opinions, and much more. In addition, adding this to your child’s summer routine will also help prevent the well-known “summer slide” from occurring. Frequent library visits in the summer are a MUST! (Hint: Teen boys often prefer non-fiction to fiction!)

Time for a New Hobby/Sport

If your child has an interest in a new hobby, sport or other pastime, but the school year doesn’t allow time for such an addition to your busy schedule, the summer break presents a unique opportunity to try something new---but something the child chooses. Activities that involve the martial arts, dance, or indoor soccer (notice again the physical activity to expend energy!) are just a few options to consider. Your child will give you the best ideas on this. Let him or her do the choosing. Dance studios, karate organizations and sports complexes sometimes offer free sessions to see if there is an interest. Check to see what your community may have to offer your child.

Hands-on, Creative Time

Also, do encourage your child to engage in activities that require specific thinking and manual skills. Working with a Lego model kit or complex puzzle is a great pastime---and can actually be soothing, too, especially for a child with ADHD. These can be great hands-on activities that often teach how to follow directions correctly and how to properly follow through with tasks to completion, two areas where children with ADHD need practice and assistance.


These are just a few ideas to get you started with your summer planning---there are others, too. It is really ALL about BALANCE here. Combine exercise with creative, brain-building activities, and your child with ADHD will blossom this summer---AND will also be much more prepared for the coming school year!

In addition to the ideas presented here, we also wanted to include a list of extra resources for you and your child. We hope that what you discover here will provide many options for you in planning an enjoyable and productive summer for your child with ADHD.

Summer Resources for ADHD

A Great Summer Vacation for Your ADHD Child---by Peter Jaksa, Ph.D.---from ADDitude Magazine

Backyard Summer Camp: 4 Outdoor Games and Activities---from Parents Magazine

The ABCs of Summer: An A to Z Guide to the Summer Season---from Parents Magazine

ADDitude's Complete Guide to ADHD Summer Camps---by Phyllis Hanlon---from ADDitude Magazine
How to choose the right camp for your ADHD child

ADHD Sample Schedule: A Step-by-Step Routine for Parents---FREE handout from ADDitude Magazine
Children with attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) thrive on routines that make them feel safe, secure, and happy. Use this sample schedule to guide your child's day. Customize this sample routine to keep your ADHD child on track all day long and all summer long.

Youth robotics organization whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Summer Reading Bingo Printable (1st through 6th grades)
FREE printable Bingo game cards to encourage summer reading

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

LAUGH, LEARN & LIVE for Summer Reading Success!

Includes Book Lists by Grade Level

Laugh, Learn and Live is our mantra this summer, and we hope it will be yours, too. Why is that? Well, as the school year draws to a close for many children, many parents are thinking about, “How can I keep my child from experiencing the old ‘summer slide’?” Just keep in mind, Laugh, Learn and Live this summer. We'll show you how this approach can chase away any chance of the "summer slide" visiting your family this year---or any year!

What is "the summer slide" This term has come to be known as the loss over the summer vacation period of skills learned by children. Parents and teachers fret over this issue each and every year. In fact, come the first weeks of the new school year in the fall, most teachers will be reviewing content and skills from the previous year’s curriculum to be certain that their students will be able to learn the required material during the new school year. One way to prevent this summer phenomenon is to include the components of laughing, learning and living this summer.

One of the BEST things for parents to keep in mind in order to avoid “the summer slide” is to encourage and promote reading in (and outside of) your home. If this is the only thing you are able to provide this summer, it will be a significant step in preventing the loss of reading skills, content and background knowledge for your child. What are the best ways to do this?

One way to do this is to make books easily accessible in your home. For little ones, place baskets, small crates or little boxes of books in easy-to-reach places that will interest them. Fill the containers with Dr. Seuss books to make them LAUGH and help them remember that books can be fun. The living and bedroom areas as well as the kitchen and the car are all good places for books. Safely place a cloth bag or a knapsack on or around a car seat within reach of your toddler or pre-school child. Stock it with an assortment of books that will entertain them for hours on the family vacation. When cooking dinner, ask your older child to choose a book from the kitchen book bin, sit nearby and read aloud to you. This can be a very good thing---for both of you.

Another way to prevent the loss of reading skills over the summer is to have one day or evening a week when your family visits your local public library. You can call it “Library Day” or some other clever name. This scheduled, weekly event will send a very valuable message to your child---that YOU as an adult and parent have a need for books and reading. It will tell your child that they are very important to you. It will also give you the opportunity to observe the kinds of books your child chooses to borrow. Fiction? Non-fiction? Graphic novels?

For teen readers, who may sometimes be reluctant to pick up a book over the summer break, consider enticing them with an appetizer of short stories. This can work especially well for readers with attention deficit issues (ADHD, etc.) Novels or sizable chapter books can be daunting for a struggling reader. The short story genre can be particularly effective with ‘tweens and teens because of this. Also, many boys in these age groups are sometimes not very interested in fictional stories. If that is the case, introduce them to non-fiction articles from magazines (such as Popular Mechanics, Inventors Digest or other publications)or from the internet about a particular area of interest (robotics, current events, nanotechnology, etc.) Try these tips to entice your ‘tween or teen son to LEARN more while reading!

These are just a few ways to promote literacy and help prevent the “summer slide” in your family over the next few months. There are other ways, too. To help you further, we have gathered together what we think are good book lists for various gender and age groups. We hope you will take them along with you and your child on your next “Library Day”. Remember that good readers will experience more opportunities and LIVE more successful lives. So, LAUGH, LEARN and LIVE for success all summer long (and beyond!) by READING with your family!

Book Lists for Young Children

Little Kids’ Books

Book Lists for Boys

Summer Reading List for Teen Boys---by Jennifer Kendall

Great New Books for Boys

Book Lists for Girls
Empowering Books for Girls (all grade levels included)---by Danielle Steinberg

General Book Lists—Some Divided by Grade Levels

HAISLN Recommended Reading Lists 2013

2013 Summer Reading List for Students Entering Grades K-6
Links to specific lists by grade level

NEW! 2013 Summer Reading Lists

2012 Teens’ Top 10 Books---from the American Library Association
The Top 10 Teen Books for 2013 will be decided after voting in September 2013.

Other Reading Resources

The Reading Fanatic---Popular best-selling books (FREE) Choose from 1 MILLION FREE titles. Read anywhere, anytime (All genres) Download FREE eBooks. No registration needed.^AIC^xdm003&gclid=CM3wzrGroLcCFZFFMgodf3oA-w

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

It's Summer, the Season to Keep on Readin’!

It really is hard for many of us to come to grips with the fact that summer is almost here! For parts of the U.S. this past winter, we never thought we would ever see spring, let alone summer. Yet, here we are with only a few school days remaining for many students and talk of vacations, picnics, pools and barbecues is beginning to be heard everywhere, even on social media sites.

For parents and teachers, this summer vacation time may be fast approaching, but it will be a great opportunity for children, teens as well as adults to continue to include reading in their daily activities. Reading for pleasure can be a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon. You can be pretty creative in how you incorporate it into your children’s or your own lazy summer days, too.

We have gathered here in this week’s article what we think are some great ideas and resources to help you and your family establish this summer as The Season to Keep on READIN'. Hope you like these ideas and find them and their resources good options for you and your child! They should certainly help to keep your child off the summer slide and much more prepared for the next fall term. Happy summer reading, everyone!

Summer Reading Ideas & Resources for at Home

1. Cool Read-Alouds: Set aside one afternoon each week (or more often, if you like) when you and your child(ren) can read aloud to each other. Choose a cool, comfortable place like a covered front porch, a window seat in an air-conditioned room, or under your favorite tree in the backyard. Take turns reading aloud during the same reading session or plan on one reader for each time. Finish the reading session with a discussion about what you read together. Add cold milk and wholesome oatmeal cookies for extra good memories.
How Do I Use Read Alouds As a Strategy for Teaching Reading?-by Karen Hollowell

2. Cozy Reading Tent: There’s nothing like enjoying a book in a shady but cozy spot outside. Safely tie a clothesline or rope to two trees or poles. Place a very large sheet, light blanket or other sizable piece of sturdy material over the clothesline. Fasten the corners of the material to the ground with clothespins or other safe option. (Modifications can be made for an “indoor” tent, too.) Then, just crawl in with a pile of good books, some lemonade and a handful of pretzels. Your child can enjoy a great afternoon while improving his reading skills. Of course, you can join him there, too! In any case, remember to always monitor your children when they are playing or reading, particularly when they are outside.
Outdoor Tent Option:
Indoor Tent Option:

Summer Reading Ideas & Resources for Away

1. The Gift of a Library Card: The very BEST way to begin any summer vacation is to make sure you and your child have an updated library card for your local or community library. This is a FREE passport to reading about other worlds, other cultures, imaginary characters, famous people and so much more. Be ready for a summer filled with reading---get that library card TODAY!
Resource to help locate public libraries near you:

2. Literary Vacation Destinations: Plan a family vacation or day trip that includes a stop at a famous author's hometown. Here are just 2 examples:

Journey to Hannibal with FREE Mark Twain Resources

Hometown of Frank Baum, Author of The Wizard of Oz---Chittenango, N.Y
Frank Baum's life and work is the centerpiece of Chittenango, N.Y., from antique shops to the annual "Oz-travaganza," a three-day block party and parade that attracts Baum fans from around the globe. The village also has its own yellow brick road, and if you follow it all the way, you'll end up at All Things Oz, "where Oz all began." This year’s Oz-Stravaganza! is scheduled for May 31–June 2, 2013

3. Presidential Library and Museum Visits
Discover if your state is the site of one or more U.S. Presidents’ Libraries. Then plan a visit complete with interactive exhibits, interesting and fun public programs, important educational events and vast archives available for scholarly research.

Other Summer Reading Ideas & Resources

1. Neighborhood Book Fair or Swap: Organize a book fair or exchange in your locale. Involve the children in choosing which books they have read to sell or trade for new ones. Think about pricing reasonably so that all can participate in your community. Invite others to do the same and provide your garage, driveway or other appropriate location for the event. Ask your children to create flyers and ask to post them at your local library or supermarket (usually at no charge.) You and your children will love the event and experience some great literary conversations with your neighbors at the same time.
For more information:

2. 10 Weeks of Summer Reading Adventures for You and Your Kids-by: Reading Is Fundamental (courtesy of Reading Rockets) Many ideas for adding reading activities and literacy to your summer fun!

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cool Tools for Dyslexia & ADHD

We at Brennan Innovators continue to receive many requests for information about tools to help struggling readers of all ages with dyslexia, ADHD, autism and other focusing challenges that impact reading success. Periodically, we publish articles about such tools as this is the main focus of our business and its philosophy (please pardon the pun!)

Since our last article on this topic in late 2012, there have been even more resources made available to help both children and adults with ADHD and dyslexia challenges. Currently, we can see the great rush in the marketplace of assistive apps developed for those with these struggles. In addition, there are a few more low-tech tools that can help increase focus, promote more organization, improve reading concentration as well as comprehension and much more.

Today’s article will provide our readers with an updated list of both low-tech and high-tech tools for ADHD, dyslexia, and other reading and learning challenges. We hope this list of resources will give you some new options to improve the quality of life for you, your child or another adult you know who might benefit.

Cool Tools for ADHD & Dyslexia

Dragon Dictation: This is an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® that allows an individual to easily speak and then instantly see text or email messages. It can be up to five (5) times faster than typing on the keyboard. This voice-activated software transcribes words into Microsoft Word documents.

Exercise Balls: Some individuals with focusing challenges like to sit on an exercise ball while working at a desk. It can enable one to move around while still staying seated, which helps with focusing. Sensory and kinesthetic learners can be “soothed” into focusing with this tool that is more like a piece of soft furniture.

Reading Focus Cards: At this writing, thousands of the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) are in use by children and adults both in the U.S. and across the globe. These tools help to improve focus by isolating 1 or 2 lines of text AND blocking out more surrounding text than any other reading device available. They can be used in various sizes of books with any text line lengths. In addition, now the Reading Focus Cards can even be used with e-readers (shorter Reading Focus Card for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.) and with e-tablets (longer RFC for iPad or Android tablets, etc.)

Google Calendar: A FREE electronic calendar that allows a user to reduce prioritizing dilemmas, time management issues and motivation hiccups. Follow the plan entered into this e-calendar just like many working professionals and executives with ADHD.

Alarm Apps: Many individuals with ADHD very often tend to hyperfocus on certain tasks. Because of this, they can have a rough time sticking to and maintaining a schedule. Sometimes, an “alarm” app can be used to break up or interrupt the flow of activity. There are many different types of alarm apps from which to choose. One app often recommended is AlarmDroid, which has many additional features for Android devices. (It is recommended that one also install "Rings extended" with this app.) For iOS platform devices, you might try HomeRoutines.

Resources for These ADHD & Dyslexia Cool Tools

Dragon Dictation

Exercise Balls---Prices vary and are available from Pacific Pediatric Supply
Plain ball:
Tactile ball:

Google Calendar---FREE

AlarmDroid App---FREE

HomeRoutines App---$4.99

Evernote App---FREE (Premium Version: $4.99)

Other Related Resources

Apps for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities (FREE & various prices)-Article and updated app list from the University of Michigan

Tools That Make It Easier to Manage ADHD-Article by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

BEST Tools for Dyslexia-Related blog article from Help for Struggling Readers

Press Release - Patented ADHD Reading Tools Can Help ALL Kinds of Readers

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC