While schools do a lot to promote and improve literacy skills in young readers, there is still a lot you can do at home to help your child succeed. Just because a child has learned to read doesn’t mean that he or she no longer appreciates, or wouldn’t benefit from, reading aloud with an adult.
School starting again means having more things to do: pack lunches, attend meetings, do homework, participate in after-school activities, and the list goes on. While getting back into the swing of the school year is exciting, the shift from summer to fall is overwhelming and often results in the loss of well-formed, closely-followed, summer habits…such as reading!
Children benefit when their parents take part, so become actively involved in all aspects of your child’s education. Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher early in the school year. An in-person introduction is best. A simple letter, e-mail, or note is second best.
During the summer break, children get to sleep in, watch movies, play outside with friends, and participate in all sorts of other activities. But well before that first school bell rings, parents need to take proactive measures to ensure that their elementary-aged children can hit the ground running and quickly adapt to the stress and routines of another school year.
Reading during the summer can be a bit of a battle. My kids want to chill out with devices or go swimming, and, while they like to read, it’s just not on the top of their to-do list now that school has dismissed for the summer.
Have you had a mentor who influenced your life?
I’ve had quite a few, some through formal mentorship programs, but most have happened organically with a friend or colleague I respect who shares their experience and advice with me and acts as a sounding board when I need it.
“Be like a duck,” actor Michael Caine once said. “Calm on the surface, but paddling like the dickens underneath.” That sounds a lot like CLiF: our small staff and team of volunteers and presenters always keep smiles on their faces while labelling and packing hundreds of books for giveaways each week, telling stories and giving away thousands of books at more than 500 events each year, and inspiring thousands of children to love reading and writing.
The most fundamental definition of reading is being able to interpret written symbols and understand printed material. Like walking and talking, learning to read does not happen all at once, but happens gradually through continuous experiences with printed material and reading related activities.
Reading specialists want parents to prepare their children for school by sharing a love for reading, the attitude that reading is important, and the expectation that all children can become successful readers. How to do this? Read to your child daily.
I don’t want to talk about politics. You don’t want to talk about politics. But let’s talk about how we talk to kids about politics. Because they’re paying attention, and if we don’t help them frame what they’re hearing in context, they’ll fill in their own blanks.