Why Your Child Needs to Read 20 Min a Day!

Reading has so many important applications in our lives, some of which we underestimate.  From shopping for groceries to studying the ancient geometry of Pythagoras, reading has been a foundation for all aspects of life.  Everything we do has a little reading involved, whether we are driving, working, or relaxing.  So one of the best things you can do for your child is to encourage reading for a little while each day.

Why 20 Minutes a Day?

Experts have determined that a child who reads 20 minutes a day, five days a week is reading 10 extra school days per year and picking up almost 2 million words in that time.  Increased vocabulary translates into higher test scores, but also into better comprehension all-around.  People with large vocabularies also tend to do better professionally as adults, because they are perceived as intelligent and knowledgeable.  In truth, they are more knowledgeable, in a theoretical sense.  Nothing can trump experience, but knowledge can prepare one for it.

Reading Promotes Brain Activity

Reading stimulates the brain to critical thinking and problem solving.  In an fMRI study of children’s exposure to reading, higher levels of reading and parental involvement in teaching their children to read correlated positively with higher brain activity and the formation of neural pathways in the regions of the brain for processing language.  The breakdown is that children that read also have an easier time understanding things and communicating them, as well as understanding the communication of others.

Encouraging Critical Thinking

By introducing kids to a world other than their own, reading introduces them to critical thinking and creativity.  It gives them a platform to imagine from, and allows them to explore new ideas and concepts.  It teaches them also the ideas of others who have come before them, including them in the ongoing dialogue that is human history.

Relaxing and Stress-Relieving

Ever read a chapter or two of a good book before bedtime?  You fall asleep more easily because reading helps reduce stress, allowing you to relax.  It also engages you in the present moment, whether it’s an engrossing novel or an informative article.  Reading has been shown to improve focus, concentration, and memory, even in adults!

Better Writing Skills

Reading the writing of other people naturally improves the writing skills of the reader, as they observe the structure and nuance of language.  In fact, this goes for any language – reading in a foreign language helps learn that language faster, too.  Both of these translate to better grades in the short term and better salary in the long run.

Family Time

Reading together provides valuable family time, even if you’re all reading separate literature.  Being in each other’s company while reading a book can add to the bond between parents and children, especially if you encourage your child to talk about what he or she is reading.

Reading is fun, and can transport a reader through time and space into worlds beyond our imagination, both real and fictional.  Encouraging your kids to read today can expand their world for a lifetime to come!

How the Reading Aloud Method Will Help Children Love Reading

When it comes to literacy development, there are not many methods better than simply reading aloud. According to the Bredekamp, Copple, & Neuman, 2000 study, it is the single most important activity for reading success and to boost reading comprehension. It not only provides children with an accessible demonstration of phrased, fluent reading but it also provides them with the immediate rewards of reading, developing the listener’s interest in books and piquing their desire to be a reader as they become more skilled.

Reading out loud can be a great tool for parents, as well as a great activity to share with children. Listening to others read can develop key understanding skills and reading comprehension, even if the child is not doing the reading themselves. Active listening can help kids familiarize with the different parts of a story as well as with different and integral parts of language. On that note, children can listen on a higher level than they can read – meaning that they can listen to books that are more advanced than their reading level. This can be extremely helpful when trying to boost your child’s reading skills, reading level, and generally interesting them in reading on their own.

For the most part, a child’s first experience with reading will be story time with their parents or something similar. By making story time a staple of your daily schedule, reading and storytelling can quickly become a very important part of your child’s life. However, parents can take it a step further, too.

Make Reading a Part of Your Lives
When story time has its own time and place, children find meaning for stories and reading in their lives. There are so many ways in which parents can make reading a part stor
of their child’s everyday world. Have books around, of all kinds. Give your kids a little library of their own, but even magazines and coffee table books around the house can pique their interest – one day, they’ll be able to read those things, too. Kids also learn from example, so if you read often yourself, children will develop an interest in reading, too. But overall, if shared story time is something that you do every night before bed, or in any part of the day, they become habits and the comfort they provide can help to ensure that your child is always interested in books, reading and learning.

Encourage Kids to Listen and Form Opinions
Reading aloud is one thing, but it can play a huge role when it comes to active listening. Active listening during story time can help build vital reading comprehension skills that kids will utilize once they can read more independently. Ask your kids questions about the story. Request an overview after every book or chapter. Have them tell you about their favorite characters and why.

Read Aloud – and Think Aloud, Too
In addition to asking kids questions about what you’re reading, asking them to share their thoughts and feelings can help them develop communication skills that can carry across verbal and written forms. Ask them to connect the book to their own life experience, to other books you’ve shared together, and even ask them to connect what they are reading to universal concepts like love, friendship, family, etc. Stories made personally for children can help with this process as they are submerged into the story themselves helping them connect with characters in the story.

Have Kids Read Along
As kids get older and begin to learn, they will surely be able to identify some of the words you’re reading – even if the book you’re sharing is a bit more advanced for them. If kids are encouraged to read along, even if they are still listening, different parts of their brain are being activated and utilized. Kids will have a better idea of the relationship between how words look and how they sound, and they may also develop a deeper understanding of how language flows and how stories develop as well.

Tips on Traveling With Kids

Now that the weather is warming up, many families are itching to break free of their cozy nests and get some fresh air. Many people wait until the weather is more palatable until they plan any family trips, and blocks of time like Spring Break and other holidays help make it easier for parents to plan around school and work schedules as well. There are endless tips and tricks to consider if you are planning an outing of any kind, but when you plan on traveling with your kids it is important that you keep several things in mind so that everyone is happy and has a great time.

Make Sure Everyone is On Board
One of the most important things to do as a parent is to make sure that everyone attending the trip, mom, dad and baby included, are all in it for the long haul. It may be easier to convince adults and teenagers to go on a certain trip, but smaller kids and toddlers may have a difficult time having fun if they are not enthusiastic. This can make it difficult for everyone involved, especially since they will need to be talked to, and otherwise placated throughout the duration of the trip.

Try to tell your kids beforehand of what your trip involves and where your final destination happens to be. Sometimes kids may not be in the mood for a certain kind of trip or may feel nervous or afraid if it is something they have never done before such as swimming or going to an amusement park. There are ways in which you can make your case, but if someone remains unhappy then you may need to rethink your outing all together.

Stock Up on Snacks
No matter where you go, it helps to keep snacks and drinks handy. Some places offer goodies at gift shops but may be expensive, but the most important part about having snacks of your own is in the event of an emergency. Whether someone starts to get antsy in the car, is getting cranky and tired during the day, or simply cannot wait until the family’s next meal, having something on hand is always a good idea.

If you are going hiking or going to the beach, then bringing your own food is essential, especially since exertion and heat can wear you out. It’s good to have some fuel and water on hand to help counteract negative effects of such trips and keep everyone healthy, hydrated and satisfied.

Take Your Time
Depending on how old your kids are, you will certainly need to allot for time. Toddlers and younger children can get fussy, over excited or any number of things that may slow you down. Whether you are going to the airport or simply going to a nearby park, make sure you plan for some extra time for anything that may keep you behind such as an unexpected diaper change, a tantrum, some impromptu exploring, or anything else.

Be Prepared
This applies for anyone going on any trip, but as a parent it is your job to pack things for any sort of situation for your child. Aside from packing snacks, make sure you pack extra diapers, medicine or first aid, a change of clothes, jackets or other items depending on the weather, and even some activities for the ride (like reading books).

Keep a Backup Plan Up Your Sleeve
Kids are known for growing impatient at times, so if you find your plan delayed or your family car stuck in traffic, then it is a good idea to have some backup family activities in mind that you can all play while you wait.

Also, it helps to have some other ideas for outings or trips in case the one you planned happens to fall-through due to unexpected circumstances like the weather.

Encourage Them to Make Memories
Family trips, outings and vacations make memories that you will all share and cherish for your lifetime, so why not keep something to remember your outing by? Whether you’re simply going to the park or going on a big trip away from home, encourage your kids to take pictures of their own, to keep a travel journal where they can write and draw pictures, and to collect souvenirs and other little trinkets that they can keep forever.

For more parenting resources and reading tips please be sure to subscribe to the KD Novelties Blog and for unique children’s books to take along on your trips check out our library at KDNovelties.com