8 Compelling Reasons to Read to Your Child

8 Compelling Reasons to Read to Your Child

As parents we are constantly battling the clock. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done! Our lives are full and it seems like we never check everything off of our to do list. So you may think adding one more item to your already busy schedule is unrealistic. Red Apple Reading would like to offer 8 compelling reasons why you should be reading aloud  to your child daily (yes, even if  they are already reading independently!).

 

 

  1. They are only young once.  Believe it or not, one day your kiddo will be 18 and leaving for college or work. When that day comes, you won’t wish that you had spent more time cleaning the house. Your opportunity to cuddle on the couch and read a book together is now! Take advantage of every opportunity to read with your child – they are only little for a short while.
  2. You could use the break.  Parenting is a 24/7 job. Our work is never done! There will always be clothes to fold, dinner to cook, and book bags to go through. Even parents need a break and sitting down for a few minutes and reading with your kiddo is the perfect pick-me-up. Chances are you will be more productive for having had the rest!
  3. It’s fun!  When one of my children asks me to read to them, it’s hard to stop what I’m doing and switch gears. However, I very often discover that once I sit down and begin reading I find myself enjoying the story.  Before I know it I’m caught up in what’s happening to Harry Potter and my son is reminding me it’s time for bed.
  4. They are watching you.  Kids are smart. They understand that the things we give our time to are important to us. When parents consistently make reading time a priority it sends a clear message: reading is important!
  5. It models fluency.  In order for your kiddo to truly comprehend and enjoy what he’s reading, he needs to acquire fluency—the ability to read words and sentences accurately, at a reasonably quick pace, without the need to stop and decode individual words. One way children develop an understanding of fluency is by hearing text read to them. Reading to your child regularly provides a good model of how fluent reading sounds.
  6. It generates discussion.  I have had several good discussions with my children as a direct result of reading aloud to them. Questions such as, “What would you do if you were in this character’s situation?” or “How would you change the ending of this story?” are just a couple of ways to start a great conversation with your child.
  7. It aids vocabulary development.   According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, ” the vocab that a child has at the age of two is proportional to the number of words he’s heard spoken to him before that time.” So when you read aloud to your child, you are exposing him to new words and helping to increase his vocabulary.
  8. You’re making memories.  What will your kid remember about their childhood when they are grown? What will you remember? You will never be sorry you took time to lose yourself in a story with your child. When you read to your child you are making memories that will last a lifetime!

These are just a few of the great reasons why you should be reading aloud to your child. Why not start today making reading time with your kiddo a priority?

 

Mother’s Day Reflections

 

Mother's Day ReflectionsThe majority of moms would agree that parenthood is a blessing; however, the truth is it’s not always fun.

For example, last week was the kindergarten field trip to the zoo. After driving an hour to the zoo to meet the bus, I collected my group of four active little boys and spent the day exploring the zoo. Suffice it to say, it was a long day. By the end of the afternoon, the fitness app on my phone had logged over 5 miles. Later that night as I tucked in my 6-year-old he said, “Mom, next time we go to the zoo, could you not come?” Really?!

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It’s not always pretty and very often it’s a thankless job. This Mother’s Day I thought I’d offer a few thoughts to keep in mind when the day is especially hard and long.

  • Children are a long term investment.  Like many long term investments, child rearing does not always immediately pay off. Remember, you are in this for the long haul! When the day gets long and you feel like nothing is being accomplished, take the long view.
  • They are watching and learning.  I have a book about womanhood that I went through with my oldest daughter and am currently reading with my youngest daughter. When my 17 year old quoted an important part of the book to me the other day, I wanted to weep! It’s been 5 years since we studied that book together and she actually remembered something of value that I had taught her. I couldn’t believe it! She really was listening!
  • If the kids are always happy with me, I’m probably doing something wrong.  I hate conflict. I will go to great lengths to avoid it. But one thing I’ve learned in my 17 years of parenting is that if everyone is happy with me, there’s a better than average chance that I’m doing something wrong. Being a mom is tough and very often the lessons my kids need to learn make me less than popular. So be it. My kids have plenty of friends. They need me to be their mom.
  • I will get it wrong.  Let’s face it, we’re all human and it’s not at all unusual to screw up when parenting children. Dr. Garry Landreth says, “The most important thing may not be what I do, but what I do after what I’ve done.” A humble apology goes a long way in healing hurts!
  • They will probably survive when I mess up.  Although moms do get it wrong, it rarely means that we screw up our kid for life. Fortunately, kids are resilient and tend to bounce back when we aren’t at our parenting best! So forgive yourself when you mess up and resolve to do better next time!
  • It goes by fast.  Perhaps the most important thing for moms to remember is that childhood is fleeting. Although the day can seem so long, the years really do go by quickly. My 17 year old just told me last week that she will have her senior portraits made this month. What?! Wasn’t she just watching Teletubbies yesterday? Enjoy this short period of your life!

Red Apple Reading hopes you find these reflections helpful as you enjoy your special day. Being a mom can be stressful, so take some time today to relax. We recommend curling up with a good book. 😉

 

5 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read

5 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read - Red Apple ReadingAll parents want their children to experience success in life. Achieving literacy is crucial to our kids’ future well-being. As parents we play a crucial role in our children’s successful reading development. What can we do to help our beginning readers achieve success? Fortunately, you don’t have to be a reading specialist to help your little one become a champion reader. Red Apple Reading has 5 simple tips for parents who wish to nurture their little one’s literary development.

  1. Relax! –Children can sense when their parents are stressed. Remember not all kids learn to walk and talk at the same time and they certainly don’t learn to read on the exact same schedule. So take a deep breath and remind yourself that your kiddo will one day be reading independently.
  2. Set the Example – One of the best ways to cultivate a love of reading in our children is by setting a good example. Kids who see their parents reading on a regular basis are more likely to value the written word themselves. If you want your child to be a reader, make sure you are reading too!
  3. Have Fun – If you want to discourage your kiddo as he learns to read, do your best imitation of a drill sergeant! Reading should be fun and happen naturally as you go about your day. While quizzing your kids can be beneficial at times, make sure the majority of reading practice is done in a fun way. See below.
  4. Play with Sound – Before children can learn to read, they have to learn that spoken words are made up of individual units of sound. So playing with sound is an important part of helping your child become a reader. Getting your kid to break down a word into its different sounds and playing with rhyming words are both great ways to help your child become a reader.
  5. Read to Them – Reading regularly to your child encourages her to become an independent reader. In an article for Reading is Fundamental, Bernice Cullinan and Brod Bagert say that, “When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk”. So think of reading to your kiddo as a win-win: they are learning and you are getting some cuddle time!

It doesn’t take a degree in education to qualify parents to be reading teachers. With a little intentionality we can raise budding readers who will one day blossom into independent readers. If you want to give your kid an extra boost, check out Red Apple Reading’s online reading videos and games. Your child will love playing the fun reading games and you will love the extra help your little one gets learning to read!

Spend More Time Together in 2015

Spend More Time Together in 2015Don’t you just love new beginnings? The New Year lies before us like a blank slate. What hopes and dreams do you have for your family this year? Sometimes the best resolutions are the simple ones. In the everyday business of life, we often lose the little moments that make family meaningful. This year why not resolve to spend more time together? Red Apple Reading has a few suggestions on how you can get your crew together more often this year.

 

Read Together – We’re a bit biased, but we personally think that reading is a great way to spend time together as a family. Instead of gathering around the television, gather around a book instead. If you think you won’t enjoy a story written for children, think again! Some of the hardest books I’ve ever had to put down were books I’ve read with my children!

Eat Together – For many, the family meal has become non-existent. Between afterschool activities, working late, and other commitments, it’s difficult to get the whole family to the kitchen table at the same time. If your family has a busy schedule, then set aside one or two nights a week for a family meal and protect those days. You may not be able to eat together every night but a couple of family dinners are better than none! And remember, supper isn’t the only meal of the day. Breakfast or lunch may be a more reasonable time for your crew to enjoy a meal together.

Play Together – How long has it been since your family has played together? While one-on-one time is important, time spent having fun as an entire family is valuable too! Plan a day once a month to have family fun time. Hiking, park and museum visits, biking, and sporting activities are all fun ways to spend the day together. Be sure to let the kids in on the planning. After all, part of the fun is in the preparation!

Work Together – It can be like pulling teeth to get kids to work, but some of the best memories are made while working side by side with each other. Supper has to be made each night and dishes washed afterward. Let the kids help you with these chores. They will probably complain at first, but after a bit you might find that some good conversation ensues. Don’t forget, your kiddos will be adults one day and they will need to have practiced folding clothes, raking leaves, cooking, and a host of other life skills. Make some memories this year while working with your little ones.

Relax Together – There’s a time for work and there’s a time for rest. There’s nothing wrong with doing, well… nothing together. Cuddling up on the couch and watching television is a perfectly acceptable activity at the end of a long day. If your child is tired and needs a break, chances are you do too. So snuggle up and enjoy being quiet together. You will never regret spending those quiet moments together.

Learn Together – This year take time out to learn with your little one. It’s important for parents to be involved in their children’s education. Even if your kiddo doesn’t need help with her homework, you can still show interest in what she is learning. Parents can also supplement their children’s education. Red Apple Reading’s online reading program is an excellent way for your child to sharpen his reading skills. Spend some time playing some of our fun reading games with your kiddo. Check out our free trial version today!

 

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!