Fall is here once again! A new school year, changing leaves, football games, and pumpkin pie are just a few of the good things we associate with the change of season. This year why not add reading to your list of fall favorites? If your little ones have lost their love of reading, autumn is the perfect time to rekindle a reading romance. Get ready – It’s time to “fall” in love with reading!
- Shade Tree Reading – One of the best things about the fall season is the reds, yellows, and oranges of the changing leaves. Enjoy nature’s beauty and a good book this autumn. Grab a blanket and book and settle in under the prettiest tree in the park. By the way, I hear a shade tree is also a great place to grab a nap as well!
- Football-Themed Books – Nothing signals the commencement of fall like the beginning of football season. If your little one is a football fan encourage his interest with a football-themed book. Check out this list of fun books about football from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
- Cocoa and a Book- Sometimes a cold snap accompanies the autumn season. If your neck of the woods experiences an unseasonably chilly day, have some indoor fun at your local bookstore. Peruse the bookshelves with your kiddo then enjoy a hot cup of cocoa together afterwards! An occasional visit to the bookstore (along with some special time with mom and dad) will go a long way in encouraging your kiddo to read.
- Reading in the Woods – Would your child rather ramble around outside instead of reading a book? Then sneak a little reading into her day! Pick up a field guide from the local library and head out into the woods. Have your child identify the leaves and read descriptions from the guide aloud to you. She’ll be having so much fun she won’t realize she’s met her daily reading quota!
- Camp Fire and a Spooky Story! – Nothing beats roasting marshmallows over a camp fire in the fall. Campfires also make the perfect backdrop for a spooky story. Check out a scary story from the library and read it aloud to the kiddos while sitting around the fire. If your little ones don’t enjoy a good scare, then choose a fall-themed book to read instead. The fire will warm their bodies and the book will warm their heart!
Red Apple Reading wishes you and your family a wonderful autumn! Be sure to make the most of your fall and add a hardy dose of reading to your child’s plate. Once they’ve developed a taste for the written word they will be reading all year long!
If you are a parent of young children, you may be wondering about the role reading should play in your child’s daily routine. After all, most kids don’t become independent readers until they reach elementary school. However, that doesn’t mean that parents should wait until their children are school-age to emphasize the importance of literacy. It is never too early to teach your child the value of reading! Red Apple Reading has some helpful hints for developing literacy skills in each stage of early childhood development.
- Start Reading Day One! – Don’t feel silly reading aloud to your newborn. He may not understand what you are saying, but he is enjoying hearing your voice and having a cuddle. Eventually he will begin to associate reading with these things and consequently develop positive feelings about books!
- Buy Baby-Friendly Books – Does it seem like your baby spends more time chewing on her book than looking at it? This is completely normal! Babies learn about their world by exploring it orally -“What does this taste like?”, “This is soft”, “This is hard!”, “This is cold”, etc. At this stage, books should be made of durable material (think board, plastic, or cloth) and easy to clean. When reading material is baby-friendly, mom doesn’t have to worry about her little one tearing pages or ruining the book with drool!
- Model Reading – It’s important for little ones to not only be read to, but to also see the adults in their lives reading! If Mommy and Daddy are sitting down and reading a book, newspaper, or magazine, it must be a good thing to do!
- Bedtime Reading – Make sure to continue reading aloud to your older baby. Even if you don’t get to read every word because your toddler insists on turning the page, she will still get the benefit of being exposed to books. Reading before bedtime is a wonderful ritual. Listening to a book will help your toddler settle down for the evening and give Mom and Dad the opportunity to sneak in a snuggle!
- Play With Letters – When your child reaches the preschool stage, it’s time to begin learning letters. However, this doesn’t mean it’s time for mom to break out the flash cards and start quizzing junior! Preschoolers learn best through play. Fortunately, letter manipulatives for children are easy to find. Letter magnets for the refrigerator can be found at most any dollar store. Cookie cutters in the shape of letters can be used with PlayDough. Letters cut from old magazines can be used to make collages. As your kiddo plays with letters he will become familiar with them and learn to identify them.
- Choose Educational Shows – The amount of screen time for preschoolers should be limited. When they are allowed to watch television, choose programs that are engaging and have educational value. For instance, PBS offers a variety of programs that encourage children to read. WordGirl, Super WHY!, and Sesame Street are just a few shows that teach while entertaining.
- Read Aloud – So by now you’ve noticed that every stage of development has included being read aloud to. That’s not a mistake! When reading time is a priority in the daily schedule, kids will understand that reading is worthwhile! By the way, even when your kids start school and become independent readers, they will still enjoy being read to and you will still enjoy it too!
Red Apple Reading is dedicated to improving childhood literacy. Learning to value reading at a young age is a big part of developing that skill. Why not visit our website and learn more about our awesome on-line reading program? Even if your child is currently too young to enjoy its benefits, you can file it away for future reference!
September is National Literacy Month. Webster’s Dictionary defines literacy as “the ability to read and write”. Unfortunately, most of us take this important skill for granted! According to Unesco Institute for Statistics, 781 million adults – 2/3 of whom are women – cannot read or write. So if you know how to read and write, you really have a reason to celebrate!
How can you encourage your kids to commemorate National Literacy Month? Red Apple Reading has 10 suggestions to make September a fun month-long tribute to the written word!
- Write a Story – Encourage your children to get their creative juices flowing by penning their own story. If your kiddo is too young to write, let them dictate their tale and then add their own pictures.
- Visit the Library – What better way to celebrate National Literacy Month than with a trip to the library? Your kids don’t have a library card? No problem! September is also National Library Card Sign-Up month. Hit your local library and check out a good book.
- Work a Crossword – Reading is not the only way to interact with words. Buy a crossword or word search book for your little one. Better yet – create your own! Visit the Discovery Education website to make your own puzzle for free.
- Read to Your Child – If you think reading aloud is something you only do for little kids, think again! Children of all ages enjoy being read to. Pick a book that the whole family will enjoy and take turns reading to one another each night of September.
- Learn About an Author – Pay tribute to an author this National Literacy Month. Have your child research one of their favorite writers. You never know – learning about an author’s background may inspire your kid to become a writer as well.
- Find a Pen Pal – Writing letters may seem a bit old-fashioned, but it’s actually a great way for your little one to practice her writing skills. Check into finding a pen-pal for your child – her writing will improve and she will make a new friend in the process.
- Help an Emerging/Struggling Reader – Helping a struggling or emerging reader is a great way to give back to the community. Encourage your children to help younger siblings or friends at school with their reading. Parents can contact their local library or community E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) program to see if they are looking for reading tutors.
- Create a Writing/Reading Center – Creating a special place in your home for reading and writing shows your kids that you value literacy. Set up a family literacy center for your household. Magazines, books, colorful pens, paper, and markers set strategically in a room invite children to practice their reading and writing skills (but they’ll just think they’re having fun!)
- Play Word Games – Boggle, Scrabble, and Bananagrams are just a few fun games that encourage literacy. Visit a store near you and see what literacy promoting games are available. Your kids can sharpen their literacy skills while having a good time!
- Hold a Family Poetry Reading – Spend a Saturday night in September reading poetry together. Have everyone pick a favorite poem or two and read it aloud to the family. This will not only help children improve their fluency but may also spark a passion for poetry!
If your family is like mine, one of the few times you are all together is during dinner each evening. I like to make the most of these times (when else do I have a captive audience?) and one way I choose to do that is by including books in the family meal. After all, it just doesn’t get any better than a good book and good food! Today Red Apple Reading has four ideas for incorporating books into your family dinner time.
- The Final Course: A Good Book – Think your kids are too old to be read to? Think again! Dinner time is the perfect opportunity to read aloud to the entire family. Our family has gone through several books this way. After I finish eating, I very often pick up a book and read aloud to everyone. Even if your children are not all close in age (mine are very spread out), I have found that the older ones don’t mind a book a bit below their level and the younger ones aren’t bothered by a little challenge. The important thing is that you are all doing something important together: appreciating a good book!
- Nourish the Mind and the Body – Every summer I assign one or two books for my children to read – and they love it! Anyway, this year I added a twist: an oral book report to be delivered to the family. At the appointed dinner they told us the main characters, gave a brief summary, and read a portion aloud. My husband and I asked a few leading questions to help them out and by the end of dinner the family had learned all about a new book!
- Book-Themed Cuisine – Another fun way to combine dinner and books is by centering the food itself around a book. It’s fun and easy! Simply choose a book and let the family decide what cuisine should be served in honor of the chosen title. A couple of weeks ago after finishing To Kill a Mockingbird, my thirteen year old and I came up with a southern themed dinner that would have made Harper Lee proud! The bottled Cokes, fried chicken, collard greens and Lane cupcakes were the perfect meal to compliment a truly inspiring book.
- Quality Time With a Cookbook– Never underestimate the power of a good cookbook! Little ones love to cook with their parents and pouring over a cookbook together is a great way to mash up math, home-economics, and reading. So pull out your cookbooks and let your kiddo pick a dish the two of you can create together. Be sure to let them be in charge of reading the recipe (this provides the perfect opportunity to sneak in reading practice) aloud to you. Hopefully by the end of the evening you will have not only created a yummy dish but also some fun memories as well!
Meal time is an important part of the fabric of your family. Even if you cannot eat together every night, strive for a at least a few dinners together each week. And while you’re at it, you might as well add a good book to the menu. Happy eating and reading!
For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. While we look forward to the cooler weather that accompanies fall, it can be a bit sad to see the summer coming to a close. Why not make the most of this Labor Day weekend and spend the last few days before school begins having some fun together as a family? Red Apple Reading has some ideas to make the “last hurrah” of summer a memorable one for you and your kiddos!
- Lemonade Stand – Labor Day is a time to pay tribute to all the workers who give their time and energy to provide for their families. In honor of the weekend, why not let the kiddos put together and work at their very own lemonade stand? The summer may be wrapping up, but it’s still warm enough for a tall glass of lemonade!
- Hike – Hit the trail with your family this Labor Day weekend and explore the great outdoors! Pretty soon the kids will be sitting in a classroom for long hours each day – so take advantage of an opportunity to get outside and get moving.
- Camp – Pitch a tent and enjoy a night under the stars over the Labor Day weekend. Camping is a great and inexpensive way to spend some quality time with the family. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans, don’t fret – tents go up as well inside as they do outside!
- Deliver Treats – Baking cookies (or cakes, or brownies, or cupcakesJ) is always a good idea! So gather the family in the kitchen and put on your aprons. Afterwards, deliver your tasty treats to neighbors, a nursing home, or another hungry friend.
- Water Fun – If you’re looking for a good time this Labor Day Weekend, look no further than your own back yard. Hook up the sprinkler and grab the water balloons and water guns. Check out this mom’s list of water balloon games for kids at Fantastic Fun and Learning!
- Friendly Competition – Are there any other families in your neighborhood without Labor Day plans? Invite them over for some friendly family competition! Tug-of-war, horseshoes, and relay races are all fun activities to enjoy with other families.
- Make a Memory Book – Summer may be drawing to a close but you will always have the memories. Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to record some of those remembrances in your very own family memory book. The whole family can join in to create a really spectacular book of photos, written reflections, and art work so you can enjoy reflecting on your summer all year long!
- Family Game Night – You don’t have to make elaborate Labor Day plans to have a good time. Sometimes simple fun creates the best memories. Pull out those board games from the closet and enjoy a family game night. Whether you play kids versus parents or girls versus boys, all players are sure to enjoy themselves!
Stay safe and have a great Labor Day! We would love to hear how you spend your Labor Day weekend with your family. Leave us a comment sharing your best family fun ideas!