Endless amounts of information and resources exist to help parents encourage their children to read and write. The following tips are some of our favorites.
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The following information was provided by the Keystone State Reading Association (www.ksra.org).
Reading Aloud to your Children
Reading aloud is a gift you can freely give to your children from the day they are born until the time they leave the nest. Child reading experts agree that reading aloud offers the easiest and most effective way to help children become lifelong readers. It can also be as much fun for you as it is for your children.
A child whose day includes listening to lively stories is more likely to grow up loving books and wanting to read them. To spark this desire in your children, you may want to try some of these suggestions offered by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a national nonprofit organization that inspires youngsters to read.
Set aside a special time each day to read aloud to your children. Fifteen minutes a day is an ideal time.
Vary your selections. For very young children, look for picture books with artwork and stories that are simple, clear, and colorful.
Read slowly and with expression. The more you ham it up, the more your children will love it. Try substituting your child's name for a character in the story.
Have your children sit where they can see the book clearly, especially if it is a picture book.
Allow time for your children to settle into the story, as well as time afterwards to talk about it.
As you read aloud, encourage your children to get in on the act. Invite them to describe pictures, read bits of text, or predict what will happen next. It is even fun to dramatize the roles in the story or read lines of dialogue.
Children like a sense of completion, so finish what you begin. If the book is lengthy, find an appropriate stopping point, such as the end of a chapter.
Continue to read aloud to your children even after they begin school and are independent readers. There is no age limit to reading to your children.
Teenagers may enjoy reading aloud to a younger sibling. They often like to revisit some of their old favorites.
Promoting Family Involvement in School
Invite families to come to school during the school day to read with their children. Have students read their favorite stories, poems, and their own writing to their family members and other invited guests. Arrange for volunteers to read with those children whose family members cannot come to school.
Use an old suitcase to store a variety of reading games that children can play at home or with their families. Allow students to take turns taking the suitcase home.
Supply an old briefcase with a variety of paper and writing materials such as pencils, markers and crayons. Allow students to take turns taking the briefcase home to write with their families. Encourage family members to write also.
Stuffed Toy Journal
Allow a stuffed toy to visit the homes of students on a rotating basis. Send a journal along with the toy and encourage the students to write about the toy's experiences at their homes from its point of view.
Invite families to write about their experiences. Provide them with a specific topic or a choice of topics. Make a book of their writings to circulate among the families contributing. This enables the students to see their family members going through the same writing process of revision that they use in school.
Invite parents to school to learn how to make simple books with their children. Show them several different formats and use a variety of materials.
Encourage children to bring to school books that they have read that they would like to trade with other children. Spend a week collecting books. Give students a ticket for each book they bring in, and at the end of the week have them choose a different book for each ticket they have. Make extra books available for those unable to bring a book.
Have older students in the school think about picture books that they enjoyed when they were younger. Have them make a card for younger students telling them why they recommend a particular book. Have them illustrate their cards featuring the characters in the story. Allow them to deliver their cards to the younger students.
Since ancient times, storytelling has fired the imaginations of listeners of all ages in every corner of the world. Generation after generation, families have told stories to entertain, instill values, pass on traditions, and express their hopes and dreams.
Storytelling is highly regarded as an important step toward developing children's literacy. When you tell your children stories, you are building their vocabularies, giving them a sense of how stories work, and exercising their imaginations as they visualize the story.
A family rich in stories has a true legacy to pass along. Here are some suggested storytelling ideas from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a national nonprofit organization that inspires children to read.
Choose an appropriate story for the audience. Make sure young listeners will be able to follow the plot, and that the story can be told within the limits of their attention span. Folk and fairy tales, family history and joyous, silly or painful moments from your own childhood all are good sources.
Read or rehearse the story until you know it well.
Tell stories you like. If you are not enthused about a story, your voice will give away your lack of interest. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious.
Use colorful words. Rich, descriptive language will help your children visualize the story as it unfolds.