We receive a lot of questions from parents, educators and caregivers, both general and specific. Those posted here are often representative of several similar questions and the answers that have been found informative and helpful. If you are looking for something further, or do not see anything addressing an issue you are having, let us know.
A: "Research shows that it is not until 8th grade that a student's reading level catches up to his or her listening level. Until that time, most students are capable of hearing, understanding, and enjoying material that is more complicated than what they could read." (Jim Trelease)
A: Every child will begin kindergarten, but the reality is that some will be more prepared, in terms of literacy, than others. Fortunately, there are many broad, authentic literary initiatives that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. The more language your child hears (talk, talk, talk), the more your child experiences (cooking, museums, playdates), the more your child is asked to think critically (Who? What? When? Where? Why?), and the more BOOKS (of all different kinds) your child is exposed to, the more prepared he or she will be when the big day arrives. Additonally, we agree with fan, Susan Hay Pease, that incorporating rhyming into your day is another powerful (and easy) way to prepare your child for kindergarten.
A: Parents cradle, sing and tend to infants while agonizing over safety and the future; yet research shows that the more exposure babies have to books EARLY and OFTEN, the more likely they are to establish learning pathways (brain synapses) VITAL to later educational success. Reading also exposes even the youngest child to language, visual stimulators and an early love of books.
A: Absolutely. Let her "read" her books for a while. Eventually, she will ask you to read them to her. Also, you may want to bring out some new books and strategically place them on the breakfast table, on her bed, etc. She will probably look at them and then want someone to read them to her. The idea is to always make book sharing a fun experience, so she should be a willing participant, and eventually she will be again.
A: The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper)* is a wonderful book about perseverance that appeals to a wide audience. Be sure to point out the little blue engine’s choice to “work even harder when things get tough”. As you read, remind your son that it was the little blue engine’s effort that helped her reach the goal, not innate ability.
*The Litte Engine That Could [Original Edition]
"A good example of pioneer feminist lore, with girl engine as 'hero'."--Publishers Weekly. The classic story of optimistic thinking that has delighted generations of children. Full-color illustrations.
A: Discuss your daughter's specific delays with your pediatrician. If Early Intervention services are required, the doctor can help to set you up with a therapist trained in what will most benefit your daughter, and who will work with you on at home connections.
If her delays are mild, be patient and keep reading. She will benefit from the same reading strategies we suggest for all children. Reading aloud, talking to her about the illustrations and giving her hands-on experience with board books will all facilitate her growth from where she is starting. Remember that she will make her own gains. You can share your enthusiasm for reading and make book sharing something you enjoy together, regardless of her current abilities.
A: At this age, it is important to follow your child’s lead when it comes to reading You are trying to set up a lifelong love of reading; therefore, you should expose your daughter to the books she seems to enjoy. Eventually, her interests will change, but for now, Maisy is a great companion. Pick up as many different Maisy books as you can at the bookstore or library and talk about all the items in the pictures [and make up stories to keep yourself interested if you would like].
A: There is a Little Critter book by Mercer Mayer about the dentist, called Just Going to the Dentist. Anna Brushes Her Teeth by Kathleen Amant is a good one about general dental hygeine and how to brush your teeth. If you need other "Books for Emotional Conversations" see our Specialty Lists page.
A: Many parents that we ask say they cut out or print child friendly articles from their home paper, or online papers to share with their children. The articles can be kept in a cute binder or folder in your child’s library. Storyteller John Weaver also recommends a newspaper supplement called “the Mini Page” made just for kids. [http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/minipage/]
Victoria McFarland also tells us that in the UK, The Times newspaper has a Times 2 section called “Young Times” for kids.
For child friendly magazines, click here.
A: A self-directed book is one that your little one can look at without help from an adult. At six months old, it may be a bit early, but board books or bath books that your child can touch are good choices.
A: As far as reading goes, books with a lot of visuals are great for ESL students and also those for whom English is their 1st language. Be sure to point out details in the pictures as you read. Young children pick up vocabulary at a remarkable pace and books are a wonderful and authentic way to introduce young children to new words and ideas.
A: One way is to give a basket of books as a baby gift and include books your children do not read anymore. Keeping books in a nursery, or near a glider, facilitates daily reading. Model reading by sharing a few with your nephew when you visit.
A: There is a point when reading simply ‘clicks’ with young children. At that point, most words can be decoded and read in a matter of seconds and reading becomes a string of ‘sight words’. Developmentally however, many children do not broadly apply that kind of knowledge (even when they are proficient at identifying examples presented independently) until first or second grade. If your child’s teacher is assigning specific books or reading exercises to be completed at home, be certain to work with your son on those. In addition, if you are reading to him and it is convenient and low stress, you might point out where words look and sound the same as the sight words your son has already learned. Most importantly, continue reading to your son each and every day. Choose books your son will love in order to make reading enjoyable. Your son will continue working on decoding and reading fluently, but you also want him to continue to enjoy reading for years to come.
A: Many parents love the TAG reading system. An interactive reading device for children from 1-4, the tag ‘pen’ reads a corresponding Leapfrog book once text is downloaded from the Leapfrog website. Parents need to be computer savvy enough to plug in the device into their computer and download the text, but the site is user friendly. The ‘pen’ can also read individual words and ask children comprehension questions in the form of a game. On the downside, children need to turn their own pages when a bell chimes which can be difficult for young ones, their selection of books is still limited, and many parents tell us that they achieve the same goal with smart phones or eReaders. However, we stand behind anything that gets young children excited about authentic reading experiences, gives children a feeling of independence and adds to their reading library. You can also find many of the products at a reduced price online at varying websites. To visit Leapfrog, click here.
A: Reading books before and after the arrival of a sibling is a fun (and powerful) way to open up a conversation about emotions, reactions and/or fears. To see the sibling and new-baby related books in the "Books for Emotional Conversations" list compiled on our Specialty Lists page, click here.
"Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you."
~ Winnie the Pooh