10 Tips to Promote Literacy at Home

Promoting Literacy in the HomeMerriam-Webster Dictionary defines literacy as, “the ability to read and write”. The definition may be simple, but the effects of being literate are huge! To a great extent, a person’s literacy determines how successful they will be as well as how easily they are able to navigate the details of everyday life. As parents we want our children to experience this type of success. How can we promote literacy in our homes? Red Apple Reading has ten tips for how you can help nurture the growth of literacy in your little one!

  1. Read to Them – It’s never too early to read aloud to your child. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading to children in infancy! This special time actually promotes healthy brain development and serves to bond parent and child closer together.
  2. Read in Front of Them – If parents “practice what they preach” about the importance of reading, it sends a loud and clear message to their kids that reading is, in fact, valuable.
  3. Make Space for Reading and Writing – One way parents can make literacy appealing to children is by providing an inviting place to read and write. A desk with pens, pencils, markers and paper nearby will encourage your little one to hone his writing skills. A small bookshelf filled with books, with a comfy beanbag close by, will promote reading.
  4. Take Advantage of Windows of Opportunity – Parents should look for natural opportunities throughout the day to support literacy development. Have your kiddo write the shopping list for you, read the traffic signs as you drive, and name all the things in the kitchen that start with the letter P.
  5. Be Involved with Homework – If your little one is school-age, then be available to help with homework. Children often feel overwhelmed and unsure about their assignments. Your presence can help to alleviate their anxiety as well as remind them that you place a high value on their education.
  6. Visit the Library – Frequent visits to your public library go a long way in nurturing literacy growth in your child. Take advantage of story hours, book borrowing, and other activities offered by your local library branch.
  7. Celebrate Successes – Everyone likes a pat on the back every now and then. Be sure to celebrate when your kiddo spells a hard word correctly, finishes her book, or writes her name for the first time!
  8. Turn off the Television – Kids often need a little extra encouragement to pick up a book or pencil and paper. Parents can help this process by turning off the television at certain hours of the day. You may be surprised at what your kid finds to do once the TV is off!
  9. Play Around with Words – Young children learn best while playing. Make sure you provide toys that encourage literacy development. Remember, these don’t need to be the latest tech toys with all the bells and whistles. Simple toys such as ABC blocks and Magna Doodles will offer plenty of learning stimulation!
  10. Check out Red Apple Reading – If you haven’t checked out Red Apple Reading’s online reading program, you’ll want to visit our website today. For a limited time we are offering our full program at a 40% discount! Your kids will love the fun games and you will love the results!

Make Learning Fun at Home!

Little girl with alphabet

All parents want their children to experience success in life. An important part of parenting is making sure that our little ones develop the skills necessary to be fully literate. You don’t have to have a teaching degree in order to help your kiddo learn. In fact, the main way that young children learn is through play! Check out these ideas on how you can make learning fun at home.

Repurpose Household Items – Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when considering ways to teach your children. The primary way young children learn is through play and your home is a treasure trove of teaching materials! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Flour Power – Everyone has flour at home. If you want to keep little hands busy while you are preparing supper, set up a small “sand tray” for your kiddo to practice tracing letters. A 9×13 or roasting pan with a little flour, salt, or sugar, becomes the perfect manipulative for practicing letter writing.
  • Magazine Messages – Kids love to cut and paste! If your house is like mine, there are several old magazines lying around. Let your little one cut out lots of different letters and identify them as she pastes. If your child is already spelling small words, have her form words with the cut outs.
  • Lego Love – How many times this past week have you stepped on one of those pesky Legos that are laying all over the house? Most moms have a love/hate relationship with these building blocks; but children are crazy for them! Check out how this blogger from One Perfect Day used Legos and play dough to spice up her little one’s learning.

Vary Reading Material – It’s always important to have plenty of reading material available throughout the house! Make sure you have a good variety for your kiddo to choose from, and encourage friends and relatives to donate or purchase books and magazines that you think your children will enjoy. Don’t forget about all of the free books at your local library!

  • Fiction and Non-Fiction Books – I love to read fiction; however, my youngest son prefers to read non-fiction books about animals. It’s important for a home library to have both fiction and non-fiction reading material. You may also want to have both shorter picture books and chapter books for read-alouds. How balanced is your kid’s bookshelf?
  • Other Reading Material – It’s just as important that your child see a variety of reading material available, including magazines, comic books, recipes, cereal boxes, and websites.

Make Sight Words and Spelling Words Fun – Let’s face it – it can be difficult to get excited about practicing spelling words and sight words at the end of a busy day. Nevertheless, it’s important that our little ones not associate literacy with drudgery. Here at Red Apple Reading we believe learning should be seriously fun! Check out these tips to help bring a little fun to spelling and sight word practice:

  • Refrigerator Review – If you have young children there’s a better than average chance you have alphabet magnets on the refrigerator. These manipulatives are perfect resources for varying how you review spelling/sight words. Instead of writing or spelling the word aloud, have your kiddo spell it with the magnets.
  • Wikki Words – Let your youngster use Wikki Stix to practice his spelling. These colorful sticky manipulatives can be twisted into different letter shapes and are wonderfully mess free!
  • Red Apple Reading –Your child will enjoy playing our online games so much that she won’t even realize how much she is learning. If you want to give your child a little extra help with sight words, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension, then sign up now for a no risk trial. Red Apple Reading makes it fun to learn!

We would love to hear how you make learning fun at home! Leave us a comment sharing your favorite ways to sneak a little fun into the learning process.

Tips to Support Young Readers at Home

Thankful for Reading!While our family celebrations may have looked a little different last weekend, many of us like to reflect on our blessings this time of year. Here at Red Apple Reading, we are especially grateful for the many resources available to support children’s literacy. After all, the ability to read and write has a direct effect on our kiddos’ future success. Did you know one of the most important resources available to your child is you – their parent? You don’t have to be a teacher in order to meaningfully contribute to your child’s literary development. All it takes is a little time and effort. As our gift to you, we have some tips to help you get started!

How You Can Support Your Young Reader:

  • Read Together – Probably the most important thing parents can do to promote literacy in their children is to simply read with them. Whether they read to you or you read to them, time gathered around a book is time well spent.
  • Visit the Library – Regular visits to your local public library speaks volumes to your child about the importance of books.  When parents are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to pop in to the library and borrow books, children realize that reading is valuable.
  • Play Games – Kids love to play games. Why not sneak a little learning into game time? For example, you could take turns naming foods that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Sometimes my five-year-old and I play a game where I sound out a word (C-A-T) and he puts the sounds together to form the word. It doesn’t take a creative genius to come up with a few simple games that encourage literacy.
  • Build a Home Library – A home that is filled with books is a home that promotes literacy. There is no need to break the bank in order to build your home library. Thrift stores and garage sales are excellent avenues for obtaining books at reasonable prices. Websites like Half.Com and Amazon also offer used books at reduced prices.
  • Help With Homework – Active involvement with homework is a crucial element in supporting your young reader. While school may be the primary vehicle for educating your child, parents should never underestimate the importance of their interest in the educational process. The simple act of sitting near your little one and being available to help will serve as a major source of support.
  • Model Reading – You’ve no doubt heard the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”. These words of wisdom are especially true when it comes to encouraging good reading habits. We can talk all day about the importance of reading; but if our children never see us pick up a book, our words will ring hollow.
  • Make Technology Time Count – Parents can also help their little ones find online games that promote literacy. Fortunately, we know just the site to recommend. 😉 Red Apple Reading’s online software program is a tool that every parent should have in their bag of resources! Check out our 30 day free trial today!

 

 

Prepare for Summer!

Prepare for Summer!  |  Red Apple Reading

The summer season is quickly approaching, and for many of us that means our children will be home from school. While most people probably don’t think about making a summer plan (after all, the summer season is about taking a break from our normal routine), you don’t want to get to the third day of summer vacation with a kiddo complaining of boredom and not be prepared. Red Apple Reading has a 5 item list that will ensure you and your kiddos are ready for a successful summer season.

 

1.  Summer Bucket List –Take a little time before your break begins to pencil in some plans. Sit down with your children and make a summer bucket list of fun things they would like to do over the summer. Once or twice a week choose something from the agenda to accomplish. Not only will you have a go-to list of activities, but you will also be assured that your kids will enjoy them since they helped to compile the list!

2.  Unplug – Left to themselves many children will choose to sit in front of the television or computer all day. Designate at least two to three hours of each day as electronic-free time. The kids might complain at first but they will find something to do. Very often kids don’t realize they like doing something because they’ve never given it a chance. A few quiet hours may lead to the discovery that constructing Lego buildings, cooking, and drawing are all fun past times!

3.  Go Outside – You may not have planned a beach trip, but you can still enjoy the sunshine this summer! Get outside and get moving. Go on a weekly picnic, ride bikes, feed the ducks, or anything else that gets the kids off the couch. Don’t let your children spend the entire break cooped up indoors. They need the exercise and the sunshine. Remember to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water – you don’t want your outdoor fun to take an ugly turn!

4.  Schedule One-on-One Time – If you have multiple children, you may go two or three days and suddenly realize you haven’t spent any alone time with a particular child. While summers can be hectic, usually kids will have some extra time since many schools are closed for two to three months. Take advantage of this opportunity and schedule one-on-one time with each child throughout the break. This doesn’t have to be life-changing – a trip to get ice cream or visit the mall can lead to some great discussions that otherwise might not happen. Instead of spending evenings doing homework, spend some quality time with your child – it’s a plan that everyone can get on board with!

5.  Read – A break from school doesn’t mean a break from reading! Kids need to read regularly throughout the summer months in order to retain the reading progress they gained during the school year. Keep a basket of books or children’s magazines out for the kids to peruse when they get bored or need some quiet time. Also be sure to visit your local public library regularly throughout the summer so your kiddos can get new books. Check out this Ultimate Guide to Summer Reading (What Do We Do All Day?) for some ideas for cool reads!

We would love to hear how you prepare for the summer season. Leave a comment below and share your best tips.

Creating The Perfect Reading Nook

Creating the Perfect Reading Nook - Red Apple ReadingWe all know how nice it is to have a space of our own – even if it is a small corner of a room. My husband remembers creating a space in the back of his closet as a little boy where he could go and be alone. He even brought a lamp into his nook so he could read books! Kids need quiet time alone just like us adults. It’s important for children to have a space where they can reflect, daydream, rest, and of course, read! Perhaps you would like to create a special place for your little one, but don’t know where to begin. Look no further – Red Apple Reading has 4 sure-fire characteristics of a perfect reading nook for your child!

 

  1. Cozy – Have you ever noticed how children enjoy being in small spaces? How many times have you purchased a large item and, before you realize it, your child has made a house out of the product’s box? Or what kid doesn’t love those small child-sized tents that pop up? When you’re creating a reading nook for your kiddo, you don’t need much space. In fact, the definition of nook is “any small recess”. A corner of the room, a window seat, or even a section of a walk-in closet will suffice for a cozy book nook for your little one!
  2. Calm – Every kid needs a place to play and be a bit rowdy; but a reading nook is not the place for this type of play. When setting up an area for reading, it’s important to create a calm atmosphere. If possible, use soothing hues such as muted colors and/or shades of blue.  Check out this Huffington Post article about colors that reduce stress. Additionally, you want to place your nook in a relatively quiet area that is free from family traffic. A quiet area reduces distraction and helps your child relax. Make sure your lighting is adequate for reading but not harsh. A lamp with a low wattage bulb is a nice addition to any reading space.
  3. Creative – While your child’s reading nook should be simple and calm, it should also inspire creativity. You want to ensure your kiddo has the proper tools for nurturing his creative spark. For example, a notebook and pencil is useful for recording thoughts or writing stories. A small bookshelf or basket with books and magazines that are frequently rotated will ensure he has a nice selection of reading material. You may also want to place some pictures or maps on the wall for further inspiration. A lap desk and a comfy chair or bean bag are also nice additions.
  4. Cute – Last, but not least, your reading space should be inviting. After all, you want your child to enjoy escaping to her nook! So be sure to add some personal touches to your kiddo’s area. Place one or two stuffed animals for her to cuddle up with as she reads along with some pillows with cute designs. A blanket in the shade of her favorite color also provides a special personal touch . When you have completed your reading nook, it should not only be functional but fun to visit as well!

We would love to hear your ideas on creating a reading area for your youngster. Leave us a comment below and share your vision for the perfect reading nook.