Friday, July 14, 2006

A month of Easy Activiities For Raising A Reader

To raise a reader, you don’t need to schedule specific times. Reading skills are built moment by moment and day to day. Work reading into many easy daily activities.
1. Let your child see you read.
2. Share information from your own reading with your child.
3. Read aloud.
4. Read the newspaper as a family.
5. Encourage intergenerational reading—siblings, grandparents, other relatives.
6. Encourage intra-generational reading (let your child read to you).
7. As a family, act out favorite scenes from a book.
8. Take books with you wherever you go.
9. Offer books (or time to read) as a reward for achievement or chores.
10. Invent reading-related jobs, such as writing or reading the grocery list.
11. Subscribe to children’s magazines.
12. Tell your child stories aloud about your own life or your family.
13. Make library visits a family routine.
14. Watch for special bookstore presentations.
15. Tie movies or television into the books that they’re based on.
16. Use car trips as reading fun with games like finding licenses from different states.
17. Try books on tape.
18. Allow pre-readers to “tell the story” from pictures.
19. Have children retell favorite stories.
20. Have children evaluate stories—favorite character, plot.
21. Connect stories to children’s lives.
22. Create silly rhymes and poems together.
23. Make connections between books of similar topics.
24. Provide an inviting environment for reading.
25. Use TV sparingly and wisely.
26. Have children find what they need on a store directory.
27. Point out names of grocery items in the market, street signs on walks.
28. When cooking, ask your child to read the ingredients list or the recipe.
29. In a restaurant, have your child read the children’s menu aloud.
30. Use cereal or pasta letters to spell out words during meals.
31. Relax and have fun with your children and books!

Adapted from 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read by
Kathy A. Zahler

Colorado Association of Libraries
12855 E Jamison Cir
Englewood, CO 80112
303/463-6400 Phone,

Thursday, July 13, 2006

From The Reader's Digest

I usually help my two young children select their library books, but one day I was in a rush and dropped the children at the library, did an errand and picked them up 15 minutes later. A quick glance assured me that the books they had chosen were well illustrated children's books.

Later I found my seven year old peering worriedly at one of his new books.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I suddenly can't read any more,", he replied tearfully.

When I looked at the book, I found a beautifully illustrated children's book - written in French.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Fingerprint scanners keep tabs on reading habits at a primary school

PUPILS at a West Yorkshire primary school can now be monitored for their choice of reading material after the launch of a new hi-tech library that scans children's thumb prints to identify them.

The £15,000 Fairbrother Library, at Clayton CE Primary School, Bradford, identifies pupils after they give a photographic image of their left and right thumbs, which are scanned when they take out books.

Headteacher Mike Joyce said he hoped the new technology would inspire the children to read more in a time when schooling standards are coming under increased scrutiny.
He said: "It is great because we will be able to know if a child has taken a book out and we will be able to build up a reading record for a child's seven years at our school. An English teacher will be able to see if a child is reading nothing but Enid Blyton books. There is nothing wrong with Enid Blyton but we would hope a child would read a wider range of authors."

Mr Joyce added: "When the reorganisation of schools was carried out in Bradford nobody thought about libraries and ours was in our hall and apart from two lessons a day you couldn't access it – it was a dreadful waste of resources."

The new library is housed in an old classroom.

It was opened by Judith and Steve Fairbrother – and the school named the library after them in thanks for their decade's service to the school.

It has been built with £3,000 from the school budget and £12,000 raised by the school's parents, teachers and friends association, run by Judith Fairbrother.
Mr Joyce said: "I don't know what the PTFA would be without Judith and Steve has been a governor for six years. They no longer have children here but they still give a tremendous amount to the school."

The library will keep a database of its books and children will be able to write their own online book reviews.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Segalla: Nurture children with books

Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the printed words on a page. They coo or babble when you talk or sing to them, and as they grow, they quickly pick up the concepts and words they hear. Reading out loud with children is one of the most important activities for preparing them to succeed as readers and to succeed in school. Adults lay the foundation for reading every day, when they point out objects and describe what they are doing while dressing an infant, grocery shopping with a toddler, or cooking with a preschooler.

The first years of a child’s life are a crucial development period, and children who are nurtured and stimulated during these years are much more prepared for formal reading and math and are more likely to have the social skills they will need when it’s time for kindergarten.

By the time most children finish preschool, they have learned a lot about our language. For the past five years, they have watched, listened to, and interacted with adults and other children in many types of settings. Adults often think that children learn about reading in the elementary grades, but the truth is that many children already know a great deal about reading when they enter kindergarten because they have been read to from the time they were born!

Children who become good readers are those who have had many positive experiences with books during their early years, and the adults who care for them can give an invaluable gift by reading to -- and with -- children during their earliest years.

Children also like having some books of their own that they can read. Affordable used books can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, secondhand book stores, and public library book sales. Consider subscribing to a good children’s magazine -- children love having something come in the mail just for them! Show your excitement too. Ask your child to read to you, a younger child, or a grandparent and talk about what your child is reading. This will help them remember what is read.

It’s not just what you read to children, but how you read that matters. If adults rush through stories or read without enthusiasm, children quickly lose interest. Try to read with expression and use different voices for the characters. Read at a slower pace gives children time to take in what they hear, think it over, and imagine the people, places, and events in the story. It’s important to ask questions or make remarks that will prompt the child to think, express himself, or relate the story to their own experiences.

Remember, parents and teachers are partners in children’s learning. Parents and teachers may look at young children’s learning from different perspectives, but they share a common goal: making sure that children receive the best possible education. Mutual respect and communication between programs and families takes advantage of both perspectives: to provide children with the kind of care and education that will help them succeed. Today’s family members and teachers have many responsibilities and time constraints and it takes extra effort on both sides to build strong partnerships.

Many early childhood and kindergarten programs today are working hard to become more "family-friendly," providing newsletters to parents that focus on staff members and professional development, ensuring one positive phone call per child each semester, or even providing voice mail for parents to leave messages after working hours. Programs may demonstrate strengths in different ways, but working together with parents remains crucial. When teachers make the extra effort to include parents in program activities, and parents take the time to attend and participate, children benefit from the best possible learning experience. The most important thing is that teaching children about reading becomes an activity that brings children closer to the caring adults in their lives.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tips for summer reading

Thomasville Elementary School principals and teachers would like to encourage all parents to help make reading fun and enjoyable for their children during the summer. Experts agree: children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not, often experience learning losses. Because of this, efforts should be made during the summer to help children sustain reading skills, practice reading and read for enjoyment. Remember that children need free time in the summer to relax and enjoy the pleasures of childhood, so summer reading should be fun. The following are a few tips to make reading enjoyable for your children this summer.

* Read aloud together with your child every day. Make it fun by reading outdoors on the front porch, patio, at the beach or park. Even the older students love to have someone read to them. Also, let your children read to you.

* Set a good example! Parents must be willing to model behavior for their children. Keep lots of reading materials around the house. Read the newspaper at breakfast, pick up a magazine at the doctor's office, and stuff a paperback in your beach bag. If kids see the adults around them reading, they will understand that literature can be fun and an important part of their life.

* Read the same book your child is reading and discuss it. This is the way to develop reading and thinking skills. It also gives parents and pre-teens/teens something in common. Share what you like or didn't like about the book. Find out their opinions about the book.

* Take your children to the library regularly. The Thomasville Public Library is increasing their book collection daily. If your child does not have a library card, summer is a great time to sign up.

* Subscribe, in your child's name, to magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic World, and Time for Kids. Encourage older children to read the newspaper and current events magazines to keep up the reading habit over the summer and develop vocabulary. Ask them what they think about what they've read and listen to what they say.

* Relax the rules for the summer. During the school year, children have busy schedules and often have required reading for classes. Summer is a time when children can read what, when and how they please. Do not set daily minute requirements or determine the number of pages they have to read. Instead, make sure they pick up books for fun and help find ways for them to choose to read on their own. You may want to make bedtime a little bit later if you find that your child can't up down a book.

* Use books to bread the boredom. Without the regular school routine, adults and kids need more activities to fill the hours. Books that teach kids how to make or do something are a great way to get kids reading and keep them occupied.

Each grade level at TES was given a list of suggestions for summer reading. Students may ask to see these at the local library. TES encourages each child to enjoy their summer vacation, but read as much as possible to help maintain all those reading skills they have worked so hard to learn. Join the summer program at the Thomasville Public Library and enjoy reading !

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Becoming bookworms - Reading - even in the summer - is key

MELISSA GARZANELLI, (815) 431-4049

Students are putting away their books in preparation for summer vacation, but Zoe Cassady and Nancy Harris believe the summer break does not mean taking time out from reading.

"Any continued reading supports a student's learning by helping them to build background knowledge and comprehension," said Cassady, a Title I reading teacher at Streator High School. "When a student reads over the summer, it is usually for enjoyment -- which generally means he or she is likely to read more. As with any other activity, practice really does help to improve skills. Skills that are built over the school year should not just stop cold because it is summer."

"Students who do not read over the summer regress," agreed Harris, reading specialist at McKinley School in Ottawa. "They come back to school reading at a lower level than they were reading at the beginning of summer. Reading ability, or lack of it, has an impact on almost every school subject."

Both Cassady and Harris advised parents who want to encourage reading to sign up for summer reading programs at local libraries, which often offer prizes to reward reading and fun activities to ward off complaints of boredom. Another option is to let children pick out books at book sales or garage sales.

The key to promoting reading is to help children find books that pique their interests, whether it be sports, super heroes, animals or technology. When they choose the books, children are less likely to view reading as "school work."

"Students who read in the summer have a chance to read at their own level and pace and to choose books they are interested in, all of which help to make reading enjoyable and to increase their skills," said Harris.

Families can also read together from the time children are young to set a foundation that reading is important.

"Parents can read aloud to their children or just curl up on the couch together as they each read their own book," said Harris.

"Even very young readers can find books of interest that can be shared as you read together. My 2-year-old is 'reading' picture books that she has selected, but I also am reading the Chronicles of Narnia to her," said Cassady, who then advises families to talk about the books they read.

Parent involvement, said Harris and Cassady, is key. Parents who want their children to be good readers should become readers themselves.

"Showing your student that you enjoy reading will go a long way in supporting a life long reading habit," said Cassady.

Book lists for every age group and genre are available online -- at sites such as the International Reading Association, -- and plenty of recommended reading selections can be found at local libraries and from classroom teachers.

"The brain needs to work out just as much as the rest of the body," said Cassady. "The reading habit can help to keep the mind sharp over the summer."


How to cultivate the habit of reading

NT Bureau - Chennai, May 26:

'Reading is a habit to be developed by oneself and it cannot be taught by teachers,' said Richard R Day, professor, Department of Second Language studies, University of Hawaii.

He was speaking at a seminar jointly organised by English Language Teachers Association of India (ELTAI) and Office of Public Affairs US Consulate General in South India at M O P Vaishnav College for Women here yesterday.

Addressing a gathering of professors and lecturers of various colleges on 'Effective Strategies for Teaching and Learning,' Richard said reading is an interactive process between the readers and the text.

Stressing on knowledge he said, ' knowledge means a deep understanding of topics and the language that the reader has acquired.The more the student reads the more are the chances of becoming a good reader.

Richard said teachers should implement various strategies in schools to bring individuals with good reading skills, for which he proposed extensive reading of easy and interesting books that would create interest in students to read and simultaneously improve vocabulary.

He emphasised that strategy training would be effective only if the students at the intermediate level to begin their learning activity.

He further said the reader should not use dictionaries when he comes across a difficult word at the initial stage. Instead, the students should try to analyse and derive the meaning by correlating or associating meaning to the unknown word.

Giving more tips, Richard suggested vocabulary cards to help memorise unfamiliar words,and insisted on keeping a vocabulary journal.

Parents urged to read books

Parents should develop a reading habit so that their children would emulate them, said MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

“Reading does not only allow a person to gain knowledge and skills, it also exposes him to the outside world,” he said at the opening ceremony of Bookfest @ Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here yesterday.

He said the country's education system had given most people the impression that reading meant doing revision for examinations.

“Most students don't enjoy reading as they are forced to do so most of the time,” he said.

He said students who did not enjoy reading would stay away from books and this would bring about negative consequences.

“Reading is part and parcel of lifelong learning,” said Ong, who hoped more book fairs would be held in the country and that the public would be encouraged to read more through these fairs.

Popular Holdings Pte Ltd chairman and managing director C. N. Chou said the Bookfest, from today till next Sunday, was aimed at cultivating reading as a source of pleasure.

He said the Bookfest, themed “Read to Learn,” would display over a million books imported from all over the world.

“We have prepared many events and activities such as cultural shows, creative contests, forums, motivational and inspiring talks that whole families can participate in, especially since it is being held during the school holidays,” he said.

Admission fee is RM2 for those above 18 while it is free for students below 18.

Don't let summer break erode child's skills

Reading, camps can stimulate minds - By Chris Kenning

It's called the summer slide -- the vacation learning loss that forces teachers to spend weeks repeating lessons in the fall.

Students can lose as much as two months of math and reading performance over the summer's "brain drain," educators and experts say.

Research shows it especially hurts low-income or at-risk children who don't spend summers visiting museums, traveling, attending camps or working through well-stocked bookshelves at home.

"It's critical they do something educational during the summer," said Carol Miller, principal of McFerran Preparatory Academy, 1900 S. Seventh St. in Louisville.

Summer reading is particularly important, and it helps develop the habit of reading for pleasure while sharpening literacy skills. Jefferson County Public Schools is currently working to get all students reading on grade level by 2008.

"My boys like athletics, and we tell them they need to read during vacation or they can't play," said Herbert Houston of Louisville, who has two sons, 11-year-old Jeff and 6-year-old Jalen.

The Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University and education advocacy groups suggest the following strategies for parents:

Visit the public library regularly and join library summer programs. The Louisville Free Public Library has a program that gives children who read 10 books by July 29 rewards, including a backpack, a Louisville Bats baseball ticket and more.

Practice math skills in everyday situations, such as using cooking to teach fractions, tracking weather or playing math-oriented board games. Buy number puzzle books.

Check out educational camps held by groups such as the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club and schools. McFerran, for example, offers a summer program that mixes math and reading with recreational activities.

Visit parks and museums. Foster your child's hobbies. Limit time in front of television and video games.

Last week, McFerran librarian Joan Frazure read "Mr. Wiggles" and other books to more than 20 kindergartners, taking the opportunity to urge them to join a summer reading program.

"Raise your hand if you have been to the public library," she asked, after which about half the group's hands shot up. "They have a summer reading program. If you read 10 books, they give you cool stuff."

Dakota Emmett, 6, said she participated in the program last year.

"My cousin helps me read," she said. "It helps me because then I can read all kinds of books."

A Johns Hopkins study showed that summer learning helps fuel the academic achievement gap between affluent and low-income students.

That's partly because children's learning loss can build up over the years. Research indicates that children who read six books over the summer will maintain their skills, but those who read 10 to 20 will improve them.

Ursula Tarrence of Louisville, who works as a preschool teacher, said she requires her 9-year-old daughter to read many books over the summer.

"Things you don't use, you lose," she said.
Reporter Chris Kenning can be reached at (502) 582-4697.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Reading challenge may leave principal marooned on island

Those put in control of motivating young people are faced with finding ways to encourage the learning process. School faculty and staff must create ways to entice students, whether it be with incentives or repercussions.

But what if, when students were challenged to read a certain amount of books, they did?

For the past three years, Stella May Swartz Elementary School students have been given a lofty reading goal that they have accomplished, forcing the principal to sleep on the roof of the school, spend the night in jail, and this year, become marooned on "Principal's Island."

"I wanted to do something that would last all year and not just something with a week- or a month-long focus," said Scott Jackson, Stella May Swartz principal. "I am trying to get kids to develop reading as a habit. To become a really good reader, you have to practice."

Jackson, who has been the principal at Stella May Swartz in Oakbrook Terrace for the past four years, decided in his second year that he wanted to do something to encourage students to read.

Each year, Jackson challenges students to read a certain number of books. During the first year, it was 10,000. The second year, he challenged them to read 12,000 books and for the third year, it was 13,000 books.

The students are then given cards that have 10 little books on them. As they finish a book, an adult (parent, teacher, grandparent, etc.) initials one of the books on the card. When they read 10 books and fill the card, the students bring it to the office and get a book charm to collect. They get a new card to fill up so they will keep reading.

According to Jackson, if the students meet the challenge, as they have again this year, he promises to do something in return.

"I have to keep up my end of the deal," said Jackson. "This year I said I would spend the night marooned on 'Principal's Island.'"

In designing "Principal's Island," Stella May Swartz had a boat dealer bring a 26-foot boat on which Jackson will spend the night.

He will have to stay on it all night on May 18 until the students arrive back at school in the morning.

During the evening, families are invited back for a cook-out, book fair, ice cream social and dance, and the children all get a chance to read Jackson their favorite bedtime stories.

"The students have a great time reading, learn a lot, become much better readers and most of them gain a love for reading," said Jackson. "Most of all, they really enjoy seeing me spend the night outside."

Last year, Jackson spent the night in a jail facility that staff and students built in front of the school.

"It was cold, windy and wet," added Jackson. "It was a very long night, but fun."

When it comes to reading, Jackson believes it is important to motivate the students to do something like this because reading is an important skill that they will use their entire lifetime.

The reading challenge also gives staff an opportunity to see students who are excited to read and work hard at it for an entire year.

According to Jackson, not only are the students learning to enjoy reading, but the school has also seen positive results during the challenge's three-year existence.

"There is nothing they can't learn about or do by reading," said Jackson. "As a building, we have seen a steady increase in our reading test scores during the three years we have been doing this challenge."

In making the decision on how many books Jackson challenges his students to read, he says that setting the bar high is very important to motivate the students to do something more.

Having only 163 students in second, third and fourth grade, which is 20 students less than last year, Jackson believes that 13,000 is a pretty high goal.

During the challenge, said Jackson, he looks forward to seeing students who are better readers with a lifelong love for reading.

"It's interesting to watch the students come into the office for a variety of things," added Jackson. "If they need to wait, the first thing they do is pick up a book and read from our basket."

Jackson also stated that faculty and staff have recorded a CD for each event thanks to one of the school's parents who owns a recording studio; this year's song is entitled "Principal's Island."

Through the reading challenge, Jackson stated that it has been a total team effort.

Jackson believes that without the help and the drive of faculty and staff at Stella May Swartz, there is no way the challenge could have happened.

According to Jackson, the annual challenge has become a staple in the school's drive for excellence and has turned out to be a win-win situation for all who are involved or participate.

"It's a good feeling when even the parents come up to me in the beginning of the school year and ask what we have up our sleeve for this year's challenge," added Jackson. "I enjoy watching the kids come to the office to hand in their reading cards and ask, 'Did we make it yet?'"