If a child is read to five minutes a day two days a week, that’s 520 minutes a year. But if a child reads or is read to 20 minutes a day for five days a week, this is 100 minutes a week and 5,200 minutes in a year.
Reading helps increase the child’s vocabulary and interest in books.
It takes time to learn the basics of the alphabet and phonics and practise reading skills. Teachers report that if children read for 15 minutes each day throughout the summer, they will maintain or improve their reading level.
Reading is considered brain food for infants and preschoolers. The rhythm and sounds of letters and words stimulate their minds and encourage language development. Singing, poems, nursery rhymes and stories are all good ways to stimulate language development and create a lifelong interest in reading.
Here are fun ways to get your kids reading.
Canadian public libraries have developed a free program to encourage kids to read more during the summer. Children can sign up at their local library or online at www.summerreadingclub.ca.
There are games, contests, jokes and interaction with other kids from across Canada.
Kids can choose what they want to read and track their progress on the website. Local libraries also run contests for kids in their community.
Cuddling with your child or grandchild while reading a book during summer vacation can turn into a lifelong reading habit. Reading to relax is a great habit to develop.
Read classics such as Heidi, Black Beauty and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and they may become treasured favourites. Read books connected with movies such as Cinderella or Cars because children often love to hear the story again.
Choose an audio book recording instead of a movie for those long car rides and provide the book so they can follow along.
Find books at their reading level or ones that you can read to them. Don’t forget board games also encourage reading.
Guide children toward books that can help them make wise choices for good health and wellness.
Children will look forward to the arrival of their own magazine each month. Read it with them or ask them about what they found interesting it. Reading newspaper articles could also generate discussion about timely issues.
If your child wants to pursue an activity like cooking, gardening, fishing, building or craft projects, look for instructional books. If your child has an interesting story to tell, he can write his own picture book at storybird.com.
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Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.