Raising Readers

Books are treasures in my house. Both John Mark and I are avid readers, and never go a single day without satiating our craving for the written word. Because my girls have seen our commitment to reading, and have been raised with books, they are in turn avid readers. I am a firm believer that readers beget readers….especially when you take the time to model it for your children.

Recently, a friend of mine wondered how she could get her son to be a better reader, because he was falling short in the Accelerated Reader Program at school. He had missed out on going on the school reward field trip because he could not seem to make his reading goals. I asked her if either she or her husband read at home ever, and she admitted they were more of a TV family, not really a book family. I wish I would have had some of these tips to share with her then. You can bet Io will share them when the new school year starts. The following are some great tips:

Summer Reading Tips from Tim Shanahan, author of Macmillan/McGraw-Hill’s best selling elementary reading program, Treasures. (Macmillan/McGraw Treasures)
Dr. Shanahan is also the past president of the International Reading Association.

1. Read Together! Summer usually allows families to spend more time together. This is a great opportunity to read more with your kids to help keep their skills fresh. Children learn a lot when you read to them. Even if your child can read by himself, take turns reading to each other, and be sure to talk about what you are reading. Ask questions, answer questions and explore the ideas together.

2. Ask Questions. Even if you are not reading the same books they are, talk to your children about what they are reading. Ask them questions such as what happened in the story or what might happen next, who is their favorite character, or who is the villain. This builds summarization and recall skills, and your interest helps increase their interest.

3. Leverage Pop Culture. Don’t ignore the value of graphic novels or a popular series like the Twilight books or Harry Potter. These are great ways to encourage adolescents to read more.

4. Plan an Outcome Activity. Whether you are reading to your children or they are reading themselves, plan an outcome event or activity based on the reading. For instance, if the book has been made into a movie, watch the DVD together after reading the book. Book reading can lead to picnics, museum visits, ballgames or even family vacations.

5. Mix it up. Don’t just focus on storybooks. Kids often prefer to read about fact rather than fiction, including books and articles about the environment, animals, current events, sports, and other topics. Talk to them about what they like and help them find reading materials that match those interests.

Do you have your own tip to share? Thanks to the wonderful people at Macmillan/McGraw-Hill I can reward my readers who love books as much as I do. I am giving to three readers children’s books from the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill’s Treasures series. Just follow the giveaway instructions. Remember if you enter Anonymously….please leave an email address where I can reach you. This giveaway will end July 5, 2009 at 12:00 midnight CST.

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