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Importance of Reading To Your Child

Reading to your child is not something you do just to help them fall asleep Reading to your child helps enhance their ability to learn through listening, repetition and visual stimulants. What better way to teach the importance of reading by showing them you read yourself? Reading to them has a positive effect on a child’s attitude toward reading and their ability to read. Help your child open up the world of reading, writing and imagination.

Why is reading important?

According to Kyla Boyse, RN: “A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them.  Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate.

Choosing the right book using these rules:

  1. Pick a random page from a book.
  2. If your child has problems reading more than 4 words on that page, that book might be too hard for them.
  3. If your child doesn’t have any problems reading the book, then it is too easy and they need to pick a little more challenging book.

The book needs to have some challenging words, but not too many. The goal is to help the child comprehend and enjoy the book, while at the same time learn new words.

Tackle a new words:

  1. Ask your child to sound out an unknown word.
  2. Help them memorize irregular words.
  3. Use suffixes, prefixes, and root words.

Support & Encourage:

Challenge your child to sound out new words, but always supply the word before the frustration sets in. After your child has read a story, reread it aloud yourself so that they can enjoy it without interruption. Help them understand the importance of reading.

Make reading a priority:

Set aside 10 minutes to an hour every day to read to your child or have them read to you. This will get them in a good habit of reading and helps them become interested in reading.

Creating the right atmosphere:

Don’t turn on the TV and distract the child. Help them find a quiet place to read. Be a good role model and read a book in front of your child while they are reading their book. That will help support the value of reading.

Make reading fun & reading aloud to your child:

Reading to your child is a simple and pleasant process. Read books beyond their reading level and build their vocabulary by exposing new words. Reading aloud is also a good way for you to model reading smoothly and with expression. Make sure you choose a new book every time you read to them. It can help keep them interested and explore their imagination. And not all reading has to be done with a book Toys and games can provide them with opportunities to learn new words and the achievement of getting a word right.

Any way you can provide a way to get your child to learn and enjoy reading will help them as they grow and develop communication skills.

Encourage learning through educational toys

Like all good parents, we know the importance of mental development in our children. Children are a blank canvas, ready for input and knowledge. You have to teach your children because they do not have the ability and patience to teach themselves. The problem is not having a lot of patience if the child wants to do other things or they get distracted from the learning experience.

All children want to learn but don’t want to sit there for a long period of time. Having fun while learning will compel the child to want to learn more. Try putting a toy and some educational material next to a child. Most of the time, the child will go for the toy and won’t even care about the educational material sitting next to them. So what do you do when you try to teach your child and all they want to do is play with the toy?

Educational toys are a great way to introduce the learning material and fun of the toy at the same time. The child will think “toy”, but will be having fun learning at the same time. Toys can teach them ABC’s, 1-2-3’s, shapes, colors and other essential motor skills. They are also very helpful with mental development for the child. Educational toys bridge the gap between learning material and the fun aspect of a toy.

Tips for Easier Toy Shopping

Finding a toy for your child or a gift for another child can seem like a little bit of a hassle sometimes. Keep these five steps in mind to make your shopping experience a little easier:

  1. Age appropriate – Look at the manufacturer’s suggested age grading on the products as a starting place. This labeling is based upon developmental milestones of children. In addition, toys are tested to meet the safety standards at different age levels.
  2. Open-ended playtime – Select toys that allow for this type of play since it encourages developing imaginations. Children learn about themselves and their environment through play in general; open-ended play lets children be creative and act out various scenarios as they express themselves.
  3. Don’t give into the hype! - What’s hot now may not be hot next week so look for a toy that will engage your child. A toy, regardless if it is THE hot toy or not, is a better toy if the child’s interest is there to go get it back out of the toy box again and again.
  4. Interests – Choose toys that suit the child’s interests. Does he or she like music? Maybe a toy piano or rhythm sticks would be ideal. Does he or she like games or activities? Then how about a river-crossing jungle adventure game or a picture book with puzzles and games inside.
  5. Classic play patterns – Based upon age and interest, you can’t go wrong with a classic toy such as blocks, puzzles, dolls, cars, etc. Just remember the toys you played with when you were a kid and try to find a modern-day replacement.

Most importantly, if you still have doubts, then don’t be afraid to ask for help! When shopping at a local toy store, feel free to ask a salesperson for his or her recommendations. Even if you don’t choose the suggested product, you can discover what other children that age are enjoying and purchasing.

Remember, it’s all about LEARNING and FUN!

What Goes Around Comes Around

“The only difference between teaching 8th graders and preschoolers is the height.  Everything else is about the same.” 

I start out each year with my pre-kindergarten parents with this same line.  My experience in teaching is varied, but most of my public school educational experience is from teaching junior high – 8th grade.  And, with each class I teach in the preschool age, I notice there isn’t THAT much difference.  See if you agree:

1.  LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: If you were to sit in my pre-k classroom and listen to the conversations that happen in a 20 minute time period, you would hear plenty of “original” words, mispronounciations, and horrible sentence structure.  You might even hear a “dirty” word every now and then (immediately redirected by me – at this age, they really don’t know what they’re saying).  That’s how kids learn – by trying out new things.  And, in my junior high class, it was much the same, even if it was more intentional.  The “duhs” and “phats” and incomplete sentences – yep, all part of being 13 and 14 and learning to communicate.

2.  SPEED: Four-year olds know two speeds: fast and crash.  My boys especially were either running around the room or crashing into tables/easels/each other.  It is just how they are.  And, getting into wide open spaces makes it more manageable, but it is still run and crash.  It is much the same at the 7th and 8th grade level – adolescents are constantly running through the halls, running through the cafeteria, and as much as you tell them to SLOW DOWN, they continue to do so until they crash into a locker/door/desk/each other.  And again, it is usually the boys.

3.  THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER: One of the hardest parts about teaching 4′s is the girls.  Come February, we start the “you’re not my friend - today” game.  It is one of my least favorite parts of my job.  Girls don’t realize how much it hurts to hear those words, even when they have been said to themselves.  And, in 8th grade, many a girl-fight begins with the same attitude – you’re not my friend and I’m going to show you how I feel about you.

4.  GIMME SOME LOVIN’: The bright side to pre-k kids is the love they show.  Oh, they may act tough, but they flash that smile or color a picture for you.  They pick flowers on the playground and notice when you get your hair cut.  And, 8th graders aren’t much different.  They don’t WANT to like you – you are the teacher.  But, they leave you notes on your desk, wave to you across the cafeteria, or say hi to you at the football game.

What goes around comes around.  Growing up is one big circle.  We just travel it several times as we learn a bit more about what makes the world right.  Teaching junior high all those years did wonders to prepare me for being a preschool teacher – and a parent.  The only difference is the size of the package!

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