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Read with Your Kids!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

When my daughter was an infant, I remember sitting her on my lap and reading out loud to her from just about anything: my latest novel, the newspaper, kid books, EW magazine, you name it. It felt weird and foolish, but I knew that parents were supposed to read to their kids every day. Yeah, okay.

When she was four, I put her in phonics class at her day care, figuring they knew better than I did how to teach her to read. It worked: she entered kindergarten reading small words. I did a small cheer, still read to her at night, and let it go.

When she was six and started first grade, life got complicated. DH got sick, which created stress at home. Reading fell by the wayside. To make matters worse, her teacher was not the best reading instructor. Within a few short months, Kate became a struggling and reluctant reader. The remedy? A full year of me working with her daily at home, going back to basics: sounding out words, using context clues, etc. Daily battles with a stubborn daughter who outright cried several times, saying, "I'm not good at this! I hate reading!" (As an English teacher, I just cringed inside and kept pushing along.)

Well, tonight we met with her teacher for her parent conferences and...she is a proficient reader! She is actually two levels above the expected level for February. The best part? She told her teacher all about the books she likes, her favorite stories, etc.

All those years, before I had kids, I knew the mantra: Read with your kids 15 minutes every day. Yeah, I heard it. But I never realized how critical, how absolutely vital, daily reading is for student success.

Read to your kids. Read with your kids. Share a book and switch off readers every other page. Read in weird places: by the fireplace, in a tent, in a tree. Have a family reading time where everyone in the family curls up with their own book for 20 minutes. Talk about books. Ask questions. Give opinions. Enjoy!

We certainly will not repeat our mistake with kid #2! :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    We created reading monsters with our children....checked out 40 library books a week and read them all! Each day after lunch, each of the 4 was allowed to choose what they wanted for their story. 4 books everyday! The reward? Our son is finishing his doctorate in none other than English Literature, our oldest daughter has a masters in Special Ed/ ESL, and the two youngest are reading to their children. We live in Honduras and our grandsons are in CO. They have copies of the same books that I have and we spend some of our Skype time reading together! Reading is more than worth it
    1725 days ago
    Right on! No question you efforts have paid off and will continue to pay off. Kids need stimulation. Being involved with adults is a good thing. Great you shared this experience. I'm sure kid #2 is also going to do well.
    1725 days ago
    This is such a wonderful advice on parenting, Rebecca! I've always loved books and I started reading to my daughters when they were only months old. Some people would make fun of me saying I wanted to create geniuses! But I knew better and never stopped. Today both my girls love books and they are always in their lists of gifts that they ask for. When people tell me "You're lucky, your kids like reading", I answer "My kids were taught to love reading." The world of books is limitless and unimaginably beautiful and it's one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
    Parents should thank you for this blog.
    emoticon emoticon

    1725 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! We do a lot of reading with our kids. It has really helped our 1st grader be an avid reader. We will see how it does with the other three, still too early to tell.
    1725 days ago
    I so agree! I read to each of my children from the very early months. To this day, they all enjoy reading and each was above average in school. It is so worth the time (relaxing too).
    1726 days ago
    Amen! I am a remedial reading teacher, and I cannot stress enough the value of reading to children! It is one of the most valuable things you can do to help your child improve.
    1726 days ago
    Great job! We used to read every night to the kids and have really stopped doing that. But Haley has started reading on her own (she's 14 so she should!) and Paul is well above the grade reading level. He's already 2 levels above what they want him to be at the end of the year! Evan, on the other hand, is like Ken. He only likes to read if there's something he's REALLY interested in. Great advice!
    1726 days ago
    Great's always been important for us and our 2 boys. Today, even our 18 year old with disabilities is a good reader and carves out his own time to read the kinds of books he enjoys
    1726 days ago
    emoticon post. Great ideas.
    1726 days ago
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