What to Keep in Mind Before Your Child Starts Reading

Reading is an essential skill and is the key to the future. Children typically learn to read on their own around pre-K level, but it is never too early to expose your child to books and reading in general.

One of the most important things that parents can do is read to their children, but reading has more benefits than many people realize. Even if a child can not read on their own yet, reading along with your child can help them develop key language and speaking skills, it can help train them to become better listeners, and it can also help them think more abstractly, too.

As beneficial as reading to your children can be, it also helps to make it more engaging. Even if they cannot read on their own yet, they can still engage with the text and the story itself. Ask them questions, inspire discussion, inspire them with what-if’s. These sorts of engaging questions can help kids to interact with books more closely even if they cannot read themselves and can also help to boost reading comprehension skills when they do. Reading is not just about the act of identifying words correctly, it’s also about the story, the characters, and the journey. With narrative text, asking questions can help kids think critically about the story and encourage them to ask questions and make inferences. These skills can also easily be applied to informational text, such as that found in textbooks and other materials children will see in school. By engaging with the text, kids can develop skills that allow them to understand abstract concepts and develop essential problem-solving skills.

Most importantly, asking questions about books helps kids think about books before they’re even reading. By the time they are able to read on their own, kids will have already developed a personal relationship with reading and may already develop a love for books as well.

Ways to Help Your Kids Overcome Their Tech Dependency

There is no denying that technology has taken over our lives. There is hardly a way to avoid it these days whether you are paying bills, doing research or simply trying to stay in touch with others. In many ways technology has been a blessing. It has helped us communicate more easily and more effectively than ever before, and it can save a lot of time and energy. But with just how prevalent technology is, it can be difficult to look away from the screen, even when it comes to relaxing and entertainment. This is true for both adults and children, but since children are growing up into this world it can be easy for them to miss out on the outside world – especially if all they know is technology.

As a parent, it may be easy to give your child a mobile device of some sort, whether it be a phone or a tablet, or sit them down in front of the TV all queued up with their favorite Netflix shows. While this can come in handy once a while, and making sure that your kids are watching and playing positive and educational shows and games, it is still important that you make sure that your children are not too dependent on technology.

For kids growing up in a world where technology is everywhere, this may seem like an impossible task, but here are some things you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine in order to make sure that they don’t get too attached:

  • Schedule some tech-free time. Set aside mobile devices, TV’s and other electronics for an hour, during certain activities such as mealtimes, or even entire portions of the day. Making technology-free time can make a huge difference. If kids know that they aren’t supposed to be using specific devices during a certain time of day, they can begin to interact with the world and the people around them more naturally without feeling like they are being forced to do so. Kids are very receptive to routines, so making it a part of your day will make it come naturally to children and it will be easier to draw them away from mobile devices while encouraging play time, family time, or any other activity.
  • Lead by example. Kids do a lot of learning by watching, listening and mimicking, so it is important that parents learn not to use technology too much as well. When enacting tech-free portions of the day or other tech-free activities, make sure to take part yourself! As studies show, when parents read so do their children, so picking up some good habits of your own can prove to be beneficial for both you and your children.
  • For older kids, social media may be a huge part of their lives, so banning the use of technology entirely by taking away phones and computers can actually be a bit detrimental. What you can do, however, is limit social media usage to certain times of day or to places such as only while at home. This way, your children can be social and chat with friends without being on their mobile devices all day long, no matter where they happen to be. The same goes for younger children who may use these devices for games and apps instead of social media. Limit game time to car rides or other periods of time, but make sure that kids participate in other activities as well, such as reading, physical exercise and good old family time.
Most importantly get your kids to pick up a book and read. YES! A physical book!  With reading done on tablets picking up a good old fashioned book gets them away from technology.  If your kids are reluctant to pick up a book try something new… like a personalized book! Personalized books makes kids the star of their own stories so they will be intrigued to read about themselves. 

Keep the Kiddos Engaged During their School Break

Now that the Christmas break is winding down for some, here are 3 quick tips to work in reading and critical thinking (if you haven’t done so) with the kids while off from school.

Keep Reading!

A Book is a gift you can open again and again

It can be easier than you think to make reading relevant during the holidays. You don’t have to give your kids assignments or ask them to write up a book report when they’re done. Reading over the break can be fun, and you can work in some quality family time as well.

Since it is the holiday season, it seems like a no brainer to read holiday themed books throughout the season, but make it a family activity.  The holidays are about family and spending time with one another, so you can incorporate reading into these cherished moments that you can remember for every future holiday to come. You can read aloud to your children, have them read to you, or do a mix of both!

But remember, you don’t have to stick to holiday related books. You can make other traditions and memories by sharing a book series with your children and reading the next installment each year or any other sort of rendition to this idea.

Aside from sharing books with your children, you can also gift them books as well! Personalized books can help reluctant readers garner interest in the act of reading, but they make great gifts for any child as well! To help keep kids engaged, you can have them write as well. Ask them to write out a holiday adventure, ask them to write thank you cards to family members that brought gifts or have them write in a journal about their holiday experience to have as a keepsake.

Take a Trip
Going on educational field trips is also a great way to make sure that kids keep learning and having fun over the summer, but this activity can easily be adjusted to meet the holiday season as well. Visit a museum or science center, or simply incorporate educational games into holiday trips if you will be busy traveling to see family. Ask kids to read license plates, try to spot some from as many states as you can! Have your kids read signs and try to help with navigation. See what landmarks they remember to and from your destination. Teach them about the places you are going and try to look up interesting facts about your town, family members’ towns and other locales you may visit over the break.

Take Some Time Away From Screens
Making sure that mobile devices are off for a good period of time will help ensure that your kids are engaged with family activities instead of being engrossed in the web, an app or anything else. But you don’t have to ban them entirely. If your kids play on a phone, tablet or computer, try to encourage that they play educational games and keep their screen time to a minimum. You can help to encourage this by having plenty of other activities available such as reading, family game time, cooking, and anything else you might do over the holidays.

We encourage these tips throughout the year, however, most importantly, when kids are off from school, because they are home and easier to incorporate lots of activities throughout the day instead of the normal school routine.

Most of all let them have fun but make sure it’s productive fun.

From our family to yours Have a Happy and Wonderful New Year!  See you all in 2016!