Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beyond Books: Encouraging Your Child’s Interest in Reading


As the school year comes to a close, many parents and children are starting to evaluate their summer reading lists. While some children may be bookworms, it can be challenging to motivate others who do not have a natural love of books, or may find the content of “traditional” books to be boring.

“It is important to remember that any form of reading is valuable for children,” says Claire Haas, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy, a national education child care and education franchisor. “Parents should look for a variety of reading materials, as not every child has the patience or commitment to read a traditional book. Other reading options include a child-friendly newsletter about a topic of interest to them, a magazine or even the grocery list. In each case, find materials that match a child’s interests to help build their reading skills in a more relaxed manner.”

Haas encourages parents to consider the following non-traditional reading materials for all children this summer:

~  Billboards and Signs – Have your child read billboards and road signs while you are in the car. For younger children, you can ask them to identify signs that contain a specific letter.

~  Catalogues – Reading the descriptions and names of items in catalogues can help build their vocabulary, and the graphics often keeps them interested.

~  Comic Books – The format of comic books makes it easy for readers to grasp and conceptualize what is happening in the story, a key to staying engaged.

~  Email Newsletters – Several established magazines and children’s book publishers have email newsletters targeted at children. One of our favorites is Highlights Kids.

~  Maps – Pointing out landmarks and reading the names of different towns improves reading and geography skills. If you are on a road trip, be sure to swing by a rest stop to pick up local maps and brochures for your children to peruse.

~  Newspapers and Magazines – These are traditionally less text heavy than a book, and reading one or two articles at a time can seem more manageable for children who are intimidated by longer books. You can also select magazines that relate to your child’s special interests, another key in encouraging a lifelong love of reading.

~  Plays – If you are hosting friends, have the children put on a short play. They will get excited about the costumes and theatrics, and acting out the words will aid in comprehension of the plot.

~  Shopping Lists – Ask younger children to read the names of items on your grocery list and then find them in the store.

For more education and parenting tips, sign up for the Parenting Essentials newsletter at http://www.kiddieacademy.com/newsletter.

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About Kiddie Academy®

For more than 29 years, Kiddie Academy® has been a leader in education-based child care. The company serves families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities and techniques help prepare children for life. Kiddie Academy is recognized by the AdvancED accreditation system, signifying its commitment to quality education and the highest standards in child care. Kiddie Academy is an official partner of the nonprofit organization, First Book, and is dedicated to supporting children’s literacy. For more information, visit http://www.kiddieacademy.com/.

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