Improve Literacy

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Improve Literacy Newsletter

31 March 2009 - Issue 13

Hi there!

April 12 is Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day in the US, so with that in mind we thought that in this issue we would look at ways to ensure you do enough reading with your child. Let's get straight into it!

In this issue:

1. How do I make sure I'm doing enough reading with my child?
2. Links to recommended useful articles
3. Visit our new eBay store!
4. The Improve Literacy website

1. One of the most common fears among parents is that they are not equipped to help their child learn to read. The truth is, you don't need to have an English Language degree or teacher training qualification to help a child develop a love of books and reading. All you need is attention, dedication and a bit of patience, and you'll be amazed how far you can get.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

a) Get a library card

Nowadays libraries are a far cry from the dingy, austere places the used to be. They are mostly bright, friendly and comfortable spots where children are encouraged to go and learn all about books and reading in a fun environment. All you need is a library card - which is almost always free - and the motivation to go there with your child once a week. It's a great and cheap way to introduce an inquisitive child to the world of books, and the librarians will always help you find suitable reading material tailored to the child's age.

b) Buy a comic book subscription

Kids love cartoons and comics, and they can be a great way to grow their interest in reading. It's always easier to get a child to read something he or she is interested in and enjoys, so what feels like entertainment can also be educational to a certain degree. Buying a magazine subscription is usually quite inexpensive too.

c) Traffic and shop signs

Don't just treat reading as an activity that has to be done at home or at school. When you are out and about you can also make use of the surrounding environment as a stimulus for learning. Reading shop signs and traffic signs together is a different way to pick up new words and phrases, and can be good fun.

d) Read picture books together

The classic way to read with your child is also one of the most rewarding. Turning the pages of a picture book with your child on your knee opens him or her up to the excitement and emotions of a shared experience. Reading together has proven benefits and, as well as nurturing reading and critical literacy skills, it can also aid in parent-child bonding

e) Keep a reading routine

Reading with your child is great, but you need to do it on a regular basis if you hope to get the maximum benefit for your child's reading development. A good idea is to put aside 15 minutes before bedtime for reading a favourite story. This gets your child used to recognizing that reading is an important part of everyday life. Don't be afraid to mix things up a bit too to keep things fresh and exciting - maybe build a reading den in the living room or even the garden.

f) Choose recipes together

Cooking together is great fun and is a good opportunity for learning new vocabulary that your child may never have come across before. Let your little one read through the recipe and even write out the shopping list of ingredients if possible. Then, when you are at the supermarket together, read the ingredients on the tins and packets. Also reading advertising material can be fun, especially if they recognize it from the TV.

2. Links to recommended useful articles

Below is a list of useful articles we've researched, on a range of topics relating to children and critical literacy development.

a) Crisis in Kindergarten - Why Children Need to Play in School
This interesting article summary explains how the modern-day kindergarten is no longer focussing on 'play' as a means to get children learning, and examines the effect that this is having on the development of our children today.

b) How to create a Literate Home
How can you quickly and inexpensively transform your home into one that encourages children to learn better reading and writing skills? This article gives you tips and advice on ways to make your home 'literate'.

c) Working with your child's teacher for reading success
It's often alarming how little communication there is between school teachers and parents in relation to a child's progress at school, especially with reading and literacy development. This detailed article offers valuable questions and answers to help the concerned parent.

d) Seven Ways to Build a Better Reader
A concise but helpful look into how to help your child improve his or her reading skills and literacy development.

e) Families Overlook Importance of Reading Together
Literacy skills are on the decline not just in the US but in the vast majority of countries in the English-speaking world. Discover hints and tips to help children develop strong reading habits.

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