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A Note to Parents
from the National Literacy Secretariat...
Reading - Make It a Family Event
Read - Good Habits Begin Early
The ability to read is perhaps the greatest gift that we can give to our children. It allows us to express ourselves more effectively, to communicate with others more freely and to participate more fully in the world around us. A child who reads has greater prospects for success in school. Adults with strong literacy skills have greater chances for success in the world of work.
Good reading habits are reinforced in the home. Parents and other family members are important in promoting strong reading, writing and mathematics skills. In order to develop good reading habits, children need to be surrounded by books, stories and reading. Yet, there are families who do not or cannot enjoy one of the most inexpensive and rewarding experiences they can share together.
You can play an important part within your own family by setting aside time to read with your children. Or you can help others in the community by volunteering to read with kids in the neighbourhood.
Make reading a fun activity rather than a chore. Expose kids to as many newspapers, magazines and books as possible to stimulate their incredibly curious minds. Make regular trips to the local library and set a good example by reading often yourself.
Family literacy programs have been developed for parents who have difficulty reading. The programs offer parents the opportunity to strengthen their reading skills while involving their children. You can check in the Yellow pages under LEARN to find out about literacy programs that are available in your own community.
If you are not already in the reading habit, perhaps it is time to turn the page and begin a new chapter in your family life. There is no better time than now to create a reading environment in your own home.
Tips for Reading with Children
Read with your children every day--make it a part of your daily routine.
Get to know your local library and visit it regularly with your family. Libraries offer many programs for children including activities, story hours and play areas that encourage children to have fun and read.
It is never too early (or too late) to start reading with your children--even a very young baby will soon learn that books are part of a pleasant activity.
Look for different ways to entice an older child back to reading--she may enjoy reading about her favourite musician, performer, sport or athlete.
Reward your child's effort. Many libraries set up reading clubs where children are rewarded in different ways for reading books.
Children learn by example--if a child sees you reading, she will learn that reading is an activity you value.
When reading with your child, try out some of the following ideas:
Whenever possible, let the child decide what you will read.
Take turns reading to each other. Ham it up--use different voices.
Keep the story moving. Help with difficult words to maintain the flow.
Drop the story if the child is not interested. Move on to another book.
Make praise a part of reading.
How the Read Up On It Kit Can Be Used With Your Family
Use the reading list to help find books that might interest your child--maybe there are new ones that your child has not yet explored.
Invite your child to look at the reading list with you and choose books to read and discuss together.
Bring the reading lists along when you visit your library to help select books. If necessary, your librarian can help you find the books.
Use the Read Up On It bookmarks and poster as reading rewards. For example, a bookmark for each book your child reads, the poster once they read 10 books.
Read the award-winning books with your children. Talk about why they won the award and ask your children if they think the books deserved the award. Create your own awards and let your child pick the winners -- i.e., Favourite Book, Funniest Book, Book I will Most Likely Read to My Children When I Grow Up, etc.