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!

Help Your Kiddo Become a Super Reader!

Help Make Your Kid a Super Reader! - Red Apple ReadingThe time of year that football fans look forward to the entire season is here – Super Bowl Sunday. Whether you’re a Seahawk’s fan or a Bronco’s fan, (or you just like watching the commercials!) we can all appreciate the hard work and talent it takes for the competitors to achieve this goal. At Red Apple Reading our dream is for children to be “Super Readers“. Like the two teams competing in the Super Bowl, it takes hard work, dedication, and lots of support to reach this goal. Red Apple Reading has five suggestions on how you can help your child achieve Super Reader status!

 

  1. Practice Sight Words – If you are a parent of a young child, there is a good chance you are familiar with the term “sight words”. Sight words are words that are commonly found throughout written texts that your kiddo needs to recognize simply by sight. Fortunately there are some great apps available to help you in this important endeavor. Sight Words and Dolch Sight Words (available from Google Play) are two of the many good apps out there.
  2. Set Aside Dedicated Reading Time – There should be a block of time each day dedicated strictly to reading. Even if it is only 20 minutes, dedicated reading time will help your child discover the joys of reading. Hopefully 20 minutes will stretch into 30, 40, then an hour. Eventually you will have to tell your child to put down his book and turn off the lights for bed!
  3. Practice Reading Aloud to Pets and Toys – I came across a very interesting article recently about a school that uses therapy dogs for children to read aloud to. This is a brilliant idea (particularly for struggling/shy readers) that can easily be transferred to the home. Encourage your child to read aloud to her dolls, stuffed animals and pets. Your child’s reading skills will improve and your cat will be well rounded!
  4. Pick What Interests Them – Did you always dream of reading your favorite classic children’s book to your child only to have him turn up his nose at your selection? As a parent, it can be disappointing when our kids don’t like the same things we do. During these times, it is important to keep the big picture in mind: cultivating a reader. If your kiddo can’t get enough of Transformers, make sure he has plenty of books about those robots in disguise! After all, your child is more likely to pick up a book that contains subject matter that is interesting to him.
  5. Get a Membership to Red Apple ReadingRed Apple Reading’s mission is to enhance the lives of children everywhere by providing a fun and effective alternative to teaching reading to children. With that goal in mind, Red Apple Reading has created a fun online instructional software program that makes reading fun for your child. Peruse the website and check out some of the lessons and games. You can even play the first unit of their newest level, Island Adventures, for free on the Free Play page. We think you’ll like what you see and want to purchase a membership for your little one!

Reading is a life skill that will help determine the future success of your youngster. Make sure you are doing all you can to get them off to a good start. With the appropriate support and encouragement, your child can become a Super Reader!

When Your Kid Doesn’t Want to Go to School

When Your Kid Doesn't Want to Go to School | Red Apple Reading ExpressIt is the rare child that wakes up every morning excited to attend school. Most of us have heard our kids say at one time or another, “I don’t want to go to school today!” Some infrequent, short-lived dislike of the school experience is normal, but what do you do when your child is suddenly and consistently upset about going to school? A few simple interventions could help you send your kid off with a smile on his face.

Become a Detective

If your child is going through a stage and she doesn’t want to attend school, the first thing you as a parent must do is ask leading questions about her school experience. Very often a child resists going to school because she is attempting to avoid a painful experience. For example, perhaps another child is picking on her or she is anticipating a confrontation with a substitute teacher. Start with general questions such as, “What’s going on? Why don’t you want to go to school today?” then move to more specific questions like, “Is someone bothering you?” The combination of a listening ear and a little detective work can help you get to the bottom of the problem. Once you figure out what’s going on, you’ll be better equipped to help your child.

Promote Healthy Rituals

Oftentimes our kids don’t want to go to school because they are not adequately prepared to face the day. For instance, if your child is consistently whiny or irritable on school mornings, it may be that he is not getting enough sleep. Most kids need 8-10 hours of sleep per night depending on their age and personal needs. Having a set bed time (and sticking to it!) can go a long way in helping your child feel good about going to school the next day. A morning ritual can also help your little one be ready for school. When your kid knows what is expected of him in the mornings and has plenty of time to accomplish it, it is bound to improve his outlook. After all, no one enjoys feeling rushed.  A chart or some other creative tool may be needed to keep your little guy on track in the mornings. Also remember the importance of a full tummy! Make sure your child has had plenty to eat before heading off each day. By implementing healthy rituals, we increase the likelihood that our kiddos will go to school each day with a pleasant attitude.

Employ Coping Strategies

It may be that your child has a disposition that doesn’t lend itself well to being away from her caregiver for extended periods of time. If this is the case, using a transitional object of some kind may be helpful. For example, you can give your little one a small object to keep in her pocket throughout the day. At the end of each day, she can bring it home and exchange it for 30 minutes of cuddle time with mom! Or, how about letting your child pick her own snack to take to school? Having something special to look forward to can help your kid have a brighter outlook on her day.

Remember, there is no one right answer for every kid, but by listening, incorporating healthy rituals, and thinking creatively, we can begin the process of helping our children enjoy their school experience!

 

Establishing Reading Routines at Home – Reading Essentials Series #3

I can remember when my daughters were little; my favorite time of the evening was story time. Their hair would smell freshly washed and they’d have their jammies on. They’d each pick a favorite picture book from the shelf, or we might be in the middle of a chapter book from the Magic Tree House series, and we’d crowd together on the bed and snuggle in to read before bedtime. Even now, when I say goodnight to my 16-year-old, I know she goes to bed and reads on her eReader before the lights go out.

Many experts suggest that you establish a reading routine with your child early on. You can begin building your home library by purchasing books or making frequent trips to a local public library. Library trips can become an enjoyable family outing, and can build excitement for your child around the selection of books. Ask family members and friends to buy books for holiday and birthday celebrations – your children may already have plenty of toys as it is. For tech-savvy families, downloading eBooks and visiting websites with book reviews and online storybooks can be just as much fun.

In establishing a reading routine at home, one of the most important goals to keep in mind is the creation of a positive reading environment. While the acquisition of specific reading skills is essential to a child’s development, so too is the establishment of reading as an enjoyable activity. Children who are forced to read or given no choice in reading materials will often end up not reading for enjoyment at all, and without the continued practice they will inevitably begin to slip in their reading skills. There are many ways in which you can foster a positive reading environment for your child at home:

  • Model the importance of reading at home by demonstrating your own interest in reading, letting your child observe you reading books, magazines, the newspaper, or materials on an eReader.
  • Fill your home with reading materials your child can access, such as children’s magazines, picture books, or reference books written for children. Use these materials to learn new information, or as a basis for research.
  • Find internet reading resources, and let your child experience reading through interactive games and electronic picture books. Red Apple Reading has instructional videos and engaging activities that will help your child learn how to read.
  • Encourage your child to share information learned through reading, and acknowledge when a child draws a connection from reading material. You can also share news articles that are of interest to you with your child.

Also important to fostering a positive reading environment at home is establishing a daily reading time with your child. Once you have reading material in the house, pick a particular time of the day–perhaps just before bed, first thing in the morning, or both! -and designate that as a time to read with your child. When reading a book, take the time to point out anything notable in the pictures, and pause on any page that your child seems particularly interested in. When your child begins to speak, be sure to answer questions he might have about words, pictures, and the story line as it develops.

Reading to your child with expression can also be helpful in maintaining her interest, and it gives your child an introduction to the natural phrasing of sentences and written language. You can emphasize punctuation, create dramatic build-up when a big event is about to happen in the story line, or even come up with distinct voices for different characters. The more engaging and entertaining a story seems to a child, the more likely he will be to focus during reading. Here you’ll find even more great tips on reading aloud to children.

Do you and your family have any reading routines you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!