Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reading IS NOT an Optional Life Skill

I love to read.  My parents were some of the lucky ones, two of their three children loved to read.  Although my love for reading lapsed in the middle school years, my mom and sister quickly turned me on to novels that captured my attention once again and I have never looked back since. So, I guess you could say I am one of the lucky ones too.  I have a interest in societies reading deficiencies not only because I am an educator but because I am a parent.  I see children struggle every day because reading is difficult for them.  Trouble with reading not only effects Language Arts development but also Math, Science and Social Studies as well.  All areas of learning are effected when a child struggles to read fluently and comprehend the material they have read.  So, hats off to Parents Magazine for presenting a well written and common sense approach to "Raising a Kid Who Loves to Read."

Parents Magazine brought together several famous children's book authors and asked them for advice on instilling a love for reading in children.  Here are some of the tips they gave, of course with my little summary in Sarahisms. lol

  • 1. Plant the Seed - a.k.a. READ TO YOUR BABY!!  So as you may be aware, your infant could care less what you are saying to them, they just like to hear the sound of your voice.  Read to them every day to familiarize them with the connection between this thing you hold (a book) and your voice pattern.  They will begin to recognize words this way from very early on. 
  • 2. Create Reading Rituals - Read to your child daily around the same time.  Good reading times are during wind down phases like naps or bed time. 
  • 3. Bring Pictures to Life - Use this time to let your child's imagination run free!! Ask them what they see in the picture or even better have them predict the story from looking at the pictures alone.  Make a game of it to see how accurate they were when you have finished reading!! 
  • 4. Look Past the Page - Let your child write their own book no matter how young they may be.  If a child can only draw pictures, have them tell you the story and you can write it for them or allow them to tell the story out loud to another relative or a friend.  Kids love to have center stage!!

I know we are all busy, but these are small things that we can easily implement in to our daily schedules.  I can look around my classroom and usually identify my students that have been read to as a child.  Not only do they share a passion for books, they are able to better understand what they are reading.  In addition, reading allows a child's imagination to run free.  Good readers usually equal good writers.  Writing is becoming a very important skill with standardized testing.... open responses are expected to be well written pieces that are produced in a short time frame, usually 15 to 30 minutes.  So, set your child up for success and READ, READ, READ!! :)

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