Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Your Local Library Can Be a Great Resource

Libraries are a wonderful resource for your children.  Today, libraries are a lot more than just a place to borrow books.  They have so much more to offer.  My local library is one of my favorite places to be.  

They have a wonderful Children's Department and provide a wide variety of programs.  Some of the things they offer are:
  • Mommy and Me Reading Programs - I loved doing this when my boys were little.  The kids sat on my lap while the librarian read us stories.  They would even act out the books with a felt board or puppets.
  • Preschool Reading Programs - The little ones would go into the reading room for 30 minutes and be entertained by the librarian.  She would read and do sing-a-longs with them.  This was also the first time my boys went somewhere alone.  It was a great way for them to get used to being without me.  
  • Tween Programs - They have so many great things for the pre-teens to do.  They even have a yo-yo club that my son loves.
  • Teen Programs - They have book clubs and lock - ins.  They also have many ways the teens can volunteer their time.
  • Book Buddies - This is one of my favorite programs.  Teens donate their time to read to elementary age children every week.  The teen is paired with the younger child for a six week period.  This was a great way for teens to get community service time.  And the little children really love spending time with the older kids.
  • Summer Reading Programs for All Ages - They have a wonderful program each summer.  The kids earn prizes for reading.  Each year the theme changes.  I always participate in the Adult Summer Reading Program.  I can't ask them to do anything I won't do.  It was set up as a raffle, with each book review counting as a chance. Well this year I won a Kindle!!  Very excited!
So check out your local library.  You might be surprised at what they have to offer.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Are Book Reports a Thing of the Past??

Well school started here this week.  My 5th grader came home and told me all about his new teacher and what is to be expected.  They will be doing one book report per quarter.  Four all year???  We used to do one a month.

Here's where I go on a rant.  Not only have the cut the number of book reports that are required, but they are not really "reports" anymore either.  He has a list of options that will be accepted.  The list includes a mobile, a diorama, etc.  The kids don't really have to even read the book to complete these projects.  What ever happened to writing a summary??

Do your children do "real" book reports at school?  I would love to hear....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Read a Book, Rent a Movie

Children love to watch movies.  I know my family loves to rent a movie, make some popcorn and cuddle under a blanket and relax for few hours in front of the television.  I use their love of movies to get them reading.  We pick a book that has been made into a movie.  My deal is that if we all read it by a specific date, we get to have family movie night. This not only gets them reading, but it also gets them talking about what they have read.   After we watch the movie, we usually talk about the differences between the book and the movie.  There are so many books to choose from. Here are just a few...

Friday, September 13, 2013

James Patterson Provides Great Resource for Parents

James Patterson understands how important it is to get kids reading.  The best selling author has put together a web site to help parents find books that will get your kids reading...and liking it.  The site has recommendations by age and genre.  There are also tips for parents and contest.  Check it out...

                                                           Read Kiddo Read

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to Raise a Reader

Making books an everyday part of your child's life is crucial to their becoming competent readers. There are things that you, as a parent, can do that will help your child forge a positive, lifelong relationship with books.

  • Read to your child daily. No matter how old your child is, they will benefit from being read to. Infants and small children learn new words. Older children learn fluency and intonation. Not only are you helping them to become better readers, but you are spending quality time with them and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Surround them with reading material.

  • Model the behavior. This is so important. By reading you are showing your child that reading is important. It doesn't matter how much time you spend reading. Parents often say they are too busy for books. But ten minutes a day, will make an impression on your child.

  • Have books, will travel. Carry small books with you at all times. Keep books in the car and in your bag. You will always find a few minutes a day to read, whether it be on line at the supermarket or waiting for your food at a restaurant.

  • Visit your local library and book stores.

  • Build your child a personal library. Children should have a special place for their books, even if its only a milk crate or box. Studies show that there is a correlation between the number of books a child owns and their reading ability. Check local library book sales and garage sales for deals on children's books.

  • Give books as gifts. I often give a book along with a toy. Forget the expensive birthday card. Have your child make the card and put the money toward a paperback book. By giving books as gifts you not only help the recipient, but you show your child that a book is a treasured gift.

How to Deal with a Reluctant Reader

While parents know how important reading is to a child's academic success, this may be a hard sell to the reluctant reader. First, we must remember one thing, no one likes doing things they are not good at. The more a child struggles at reading, the less he/she will want to do it. This becomes a vicious cycle, that we must help our children break. Here are some tips to help your reluctant reader:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Or as I like to call it, bribery. Offer the child something he/she wants if they reach an agreed upon goal. This can be anything from a toy, to a trip to the movies, a sleepover party, etc. Here is where you need to know your child. The reward will be different for everyone.

  • Give In: Let the child read what he/she wants. We all would be thrilled if our children were enjoying all the classics that we read as children. But lets face it, the children today don't like the same TV shows or movies that we did. We should not expect them to enjoy the same books. When the child picks the book, they are more likely to read it. Don't fret if they enjoy comic books or manga (Japanese comics translated into English). If Captain Underpants makes them laugh, so be it. They are reading.

  • Take Turns: Alternate reading pages aloud with your child. There is nothing wrong with reading to an older child. Its actually recommended. Hearing an adult read can help a child with their fluency. Fluent readers comprehend more.

  • Be Creative: Know your child and be creative. Figure out what motivates them. I have heard so many stories about how parents got their children to read. One family knew their son loved camping, so they let him put up a small tent in the living room as long as he used it as a quiet place to read. One mother let her child climb a tree and read up there. Figure out what works for your family and do it.

Keep Your Kids Reading All Summer - Avoid the Summer Slide

Studies show that children who continue to read through the summer can actually continue to improve their reading ability. Children who do not read during the summer break can LOSE up to 2 months over the vacation. You do the math. If your child reads every summer and gains 2 months each vacation, and your neighbor does not read and loses 2 months every year, what happens in 3 years, 5 years, 8 years? The months add up. And those children who do not read over summer vacations will fall behind. Check your local library for summer reading programs. They help keep reading fun, provide incentives, and keep children motivated.