Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Children's Book Week

Start a healthy

It's Children's Book Week and the Neuse Regional Library wants all caregivers to help children develop the habit of reading.Children today might be more technologically advanced than some adults, but about 35 percent of children in the United States enter school without the skills to learn to read.

Children who have difficulty reading have trouble in school. Reading basics might be learned in the classroom, but the learning should begin before starting school.
Here are some tips:

Read to your child. Learning starts from birth. Very young babies are fascinated by books. They need to hear and use sounds, sound patterns and spoken language. Sound knowledge helps prepare them eventually to learn to read printed words.

Toddlers like rhymes and short stories, and often want to hear the same story over and over. Connect them to the story by having them talk about the items in picture books. Making books, stories and storytelling a part of daily routine will help nurture a love of books and foster the learning-to-read skills.

Read with your child. Children who are learning to read need to practice. If they are doing well, nightly home reading is a chance for them to show off. If they are having trouble, reading at home provides a safe place to practice with someone they trust. For struggling children, choose stories with experiences and settings with which they can identify. If the child is an impatient reader, choose books with short chapters and cliff-hangers to encourage the child to keep reading.

Help choose books but give the child some voice in choosing. Though children might not like to be told what to read, they might not make good choices if left completely on their own. Students who are behind in their reading level might not want to be seen with a book that is "babyish," so they might choose books that are too hard for them.

Sometimes books for older students with low reading levels might be boring. A good strategy is for the parent or teacher to choose one book and let the child choose the next. Readers who are struggling often complain that reading is too hard and give up quickly. It is important to support children who decide to take on a longer book. Parents can take turns reading, alternating paragraphs or pages with the child.

Reading well is about understanding meaning, not just knowing how to say the words. When helping a child read, focus on understanding rather than pronunciation. If the child is stuck on a word, sound it out, talk about the text and ask questions. Help your child figure out the word from the context of the rest of the passage or the pictures. Try not to interrupt unless the mistakes will affect a child's ability to understand the text.

Try an incentive chart. Another idea is to keep a reading diary or a simple list of books read. In a reading diary, children write down the book read and their thoughts about the book. Children should be encouraged to keep their own reading lists, which gives them practice writing.
nBe a role model. It is important for children to see their parents and other family members enjoying reading books, newspapers or magazines. This helps them learn that reading is important and valuable.

Get the child a library card. Include a 30-minute library visit in your weekly routine. Introduce children to the library's offerings. There are endless amounts of knowledge just waiting to be used.

Create a library at home. If there are books in the house, a child is more likely to pick one up when there is nothing to do.

Reading is much like eating right and exercising. Starting early and practicing often create lifelong habits.



W. B. Yeats - Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.


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