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Ways to Incorporate Daily Reading Activities with Children

Today, it seems, everyone is too busy to do much of what we know is important or needed. Just because a parent feels they don't have 15 or 20 minutes to read to their child for whatever the reason, there are still ways to find the time for what has been called "the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading is reading aloud to children". With the help of the Reading is Fundamental Organization's website (www.rif.org) I've compiled a list of ideas to enable parents to find opportunities to read to their children and help them succeed. - Mealtime is a perfect time to get the family together and read an imaginative story.

Before dinner is served or as everyone is finishing, take an extra few minutes to read. - Most children love bath time. While they are soaking in the warm tub and confined to one place, use this time to read. - Is it a beautiful day? Take the kids to the park, but take a book along. Times like these create memories! - Many families go out to dinner fairly regularly.

Take a book with you and read while you are waiting for the food. - Having kids means frequent visits to the doctor's office. Take a book to share for the long wait. - Encourage interest-based reading. If a particular topic interests a child, visit the library and ask the librarian to help you find some books on that subject.

This will promote reading! - Keep a book in the car just in case you have some spare time in the car. - Make a tent with a sheet and some chairs to create a "reading hideaway" - Telling stories can still help stimulate a young child's development. Make up a silly story or tell a true story from the past. Singing songs could also encourage language improvement. Getting Books into Children's Homes A key to having the opportunity to read aloud to children is having the books available to read.

Many parents can't afford to purchase books and have no means to get to the library. As a result, programs nationwide have emerged with one goal - getting books to the children who need them. Researchers at the University of Southern California started a book loan program and literacy workshops at Para Los Ninos, a nonprofit social services agency in Los Angeles serving mostly single mothers and their children.

The workshops teach parents simple ways to promote emergent reading, such as tracking the words with their finger. The book loan program contains about 800 books readily available at the Para Los Ninos agency and does not have any fees for late or damaged books. By providing parents a short, informative workshop and an easier, less-intimidating way to obtain books, test results are showing the Para Los Ninos preschoolers are entering elementary school reading at or above grade level compared with other children of immigrant families who typically enter kindergarten behind their peers. (Tawa, 2000) Another example aimed at all children and families not based on need is Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (www.imaginationlibrary.

com). This program offers children a free book every month mailed directly to their home from birth to age 5. The only stipulation is that it is not available in all areas yet. Dolly Parton and organizations nationwide are recognizing the importance of reading to young children and how that directly affects a child's success in school.

Any child would be extremely excited to receive a book in the mail - such a great motivator for encouraging a love of reading! Reading is such an important part of our lives and of our success as students, working professionals, parents, etc. If every parent knew that a few minutes of reading with their child each day could help ensure their child becomes a successful reader and lifelong learner, most would follow through and do it. Teachers and librarians need to expose these facts to parents to prevent more students from falling behind in reading and all areas of school. As Trelease states, "The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it. And the more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow" (2001).

Submitted by Melinda Franklin Written by Constance Anderson, Teacher, University of South Florida Grad Student, Mom Co-owners of http://www.tinytotboutique.com


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