Start Good Reading Habits at a Young Age

If you are a parent of young children, you may be wondering about the role reading should play in your child’s daily routine. Most kids don’t become independent readers until they reach elementary school, but the building blocks for reading are laid early in life. So earlier is definitely better when it comes to establishing beneficial reading behaviors.  If you want to know how you can foster good reading habits in your little one, Red Apple Reading has some helpful hints!

READ EARLY
It is never too early to begin reading to your child. In fact, pediatricians are now recommending that parents read to their newborn children. When parents read aloud to their infants, great things happen:

  • Your baby enjoys hearing your voice and having a cuddle. Eventually he will begin to associate reading with these things and consequently develop positive feelings about books!
  • Even though he may not initially understand what you are saying, your baby is being exposed to language sounds. This exposure is crucial for speech acquisition and eventually reading.

Keep the following things in mind when reading to your infant:

  • Babies learn about their world by exploring it orally so 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!
  • Simple is best. Begin with books that have just a few words per page and an interesting picture.

READ REGULARLY

  • Set aside a time dedicated solely to reading each day. Little ones can flip through their favorite books and recall the story or parents can read aloud to them.
  • Consider creating an inviting reading space for your child. A small bookshelf or basket filled with age appropriate books along with a comfy chair transforms a corner into a welcoming reading nook! This transformation will make reading time a more appealing prospect for your kiddo.
  • Get into the habit of reading a bedtime story to your child. Not only does this help establish good reading habits, but it also helps her wind down and settle in for bed.

READ AND PLAY
Little children learn best through play, so make sure to have literacy-friendly toys and manipulatives on hand. Here are some ideas:

  • ABC Blocks
  • Letter magnets for the refrigerator
  • Cookie cutters in the shape of letters to be used with Playdough.
  • Letters cut from old magazines can to be used for collages

As your kiddo plays with letters he will become familiar with them and learn to identify them.

READ YOURSELF
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!

It’s never too early to start laying a strong foundation for reading. In fact, the earlier parents begin establishing healthy reading habits, the more likely they are to raise an enthusiastic and successful reader. You may want to consider an online reading program to help your little one improve her reading skills. Red Apple Reading is designed for children ages 3-8. It teaches phonics, phonemic awareness, sight words, vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension. Get started today with our free 7 day trial. You’ll soon discover that Red Apple Reading is serious learning that’s seriously fun!

 

Preparing for Summer Break

With school wrapping up for the year, school children across the country are itching to begin their summer vacation. Parents, however, realize what a mixed bag summer break can be. We love a more relaxed schedule but hate fighting the battle against mind numbing entertainment. How can parents plan a balanced summer for their little ones? Can we really have a fun break that also includes some education and structure? Red Apple Reading is helping parents plan the perfect summer for their little ones.

Ask yourself some questions
Think about what you would like your summer to look like. Are there any goals you have for your family? Do you want to spend more time outside? Read a certain book series? Teach the kids a new skill? Do more crafts? You’re more likely to have a productive break if you begin with some clear objectives.

Embrace a little structure
Once you know what you would like to accomplish, you can begin making a plan.  Start by making a loose schedule. For instance, you may want to dedicate the first part of the day to chores, have outside time before it gets too hot, and spend part of the afternoon reading. Your schedule will depend on your goals for the family. If you are a working parent who has someone come in to keep your child during the day, communicate your schedule to the babysitter.

Remember to be flexible
It’s always good to have a goal in mind for the day, but hold your schedule loosely. If your kiddo wakes up cranky you might need to give her some extra cuddle time on the couch. You may let your little one bring his tablet along on a day you have several errands to run. Remember, you rule the schedule, it doesn’t rule you.

Include some academics
The transition back to school in the fall will be easier if your kids have engaged their brains throughout the break. One of the best things you can do for your children is to have them read regularly throughout the summer. Many kids lose gains they made in reading during the school year when they neglect summer reading. You can also review math skills, perform science experiments and visit a museum.

Don’t forget the fun
Remember that summer break should be fun! Even if you don’t have any big trips scheduled you can still incorporate some fun activities into your week. Need some inspiration? Check out our Summer and Outdoor Fun Pinterest board.

Make this summer break the best yet! If you don’t have a subscription to Red Apple Reading’s online reading program, consider getting one for your kid this summer. It’s a great way for kids to have fun while brushing up on their reading skills. Try our free trial today!

 

Reasons to Visit Your Local Library This Summer

Red Apple Reading - Reasons to Visit the Library This Summer

When was the last time you visited your public library? If you already have a hefty collection of books in your own personal library, you may not see a need to make a trip to the library in your community. However, your local library may have a plethora of resources for you and your child that you are unaware of. Check out these hidden gems that are available at your local library.

Story Time
Many of us have fond memories of circling up on the carpet and listening intently as the librarian read to us while she held the book open so we could see the pictures. How did she read upside down like that? This time honored tradition is still alive and well at most libraries across the country. Check your local library’s calendar and see when your little one can participate.

Downloadable Products
Many local libraries have links on their web sites where you can check out free downloadable books. eBooks, audio books, and videos are a few of the options that are typically available through a digital library. Is your child obsessed with electronics? Why not offer him a book to read on your e-reader? Do you have a long trip coming up? How about downloading some audio books onto an MP3 player to help your youngster pass the time?

Events
A quick perusal of your library’s calendar will reveal a variety of events offered to patrons. Homework help, craft time, creative writing classes, book clubs and movie showings are just a few examples of the extra activities that may be available to you and your little ones.

Books
Yep, this one is a no-brainer, but it bears reminding that libraries offer access to a wide variety of reading materials. How great is it that we can visit a library on any ordinary day and borrow a book for free?! Another great perk of book borrowing is you don’t have to find a place to keep the book when you’re finished and someone else gets the opportunity to enjoy it as well.

Quiet
Not many things in my life could be described as peaceful and quiet. But you know what? A visit to the library provides a little tranquility to my otherwise hectic day. An outing to the library may be the calming activity that you and your kid need.

Fun
Libraries are just plain fun! When we visit the children’s section of our local library, my son can use the cool interactive Promethean table, visit the pet turtle, and play with all of the cool blocks and games that are available. What fun “extras” does the kid’s portion of your library offer?

Is the public library an overlooked resource in your community? Today is a great day to explore the many benefits of your own local library! What do you think? We would love to hear about some of the resources/events you take advantage of at your public library.

 

Get Caught Reading

May is Get Caught Reading month! First launched in 1999, Get Caught Reading is a national campaign that reminds everyone how much fun it is to read. The Association of American Publishers supports this important initiative. Part of the AAP’s Get Caught Reading literacy campaign involves “catching” celebrities reading books of all kinds. Check out some of the celebrities who have been caught reading here.

Why is it Important?

Why should parents want their kids to enjoy reading? A love of reading is one of the most important gifts you can give to your child. Reading boosts vocabulary, increases fluency, improves brain function, and develops the imagination. There are countless advantages that reading affords your little one. Cultivating an appreciation of reading at a young age will yield benefits that last a lifetime!

How Can You Be Involved?

In our fast paced and hectic society it can be challenging for kids to even find time to get caught reading! Parents can play an influential role in helping their youngsters discover (or rediscover) their love for reading! Here are a few tips:

Model Reading – The old phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”, really is true. Rather than constantly nagging your kids to pick up a book, try picking up one yourself. Kids learn what we value by observing how we spend our time. If they see us reading on a regular basis, they will receive the message that reading is important.

Unplug – It’s not unusual to switch on the TV when we want to unwind. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a television show or two, we can inadvertently spend hours and hours each week mindlessly flipping channels. Social media and cell phones can also keep us too tangled up to enjoy a good book. So at the risk of shocking our youngsters, let’s unplug for part of the evening and read!

Volunteer – Hopefully, your child’s school encourages parent volunteering! Your kiddo’s teacher would probably love to have you come read to the class or help individual students who are struggling with reading. Ask your child’s teacher when you can come to the school and volunteer.

Visit the Library – Take advantage of the hundreds of books in your community that are free for the borrowing! Set aside a time each week to visit your local public library. Keep in mind that most public libraries also have summer reading programs for kids to enjoy.

Read Aloud – Kids of every age love being read aloud to! Don’t make the mistake of failing to read to your kiddos once they become independent readers. Reading with your children affords good opportunity for discussion and it provides a good excuse for a cuddle.

You’ll never regret instilling a love of reading in your child. Encourage the members of your family to “get caught reading” this month and every month to follow! If you’re looking for a great online reading program for your kiddo, check out Red Apple Reading today. It’s serious learning that’s seriously fun!

Raising a Writer: Encouraging Creative Writing

 

Creative writing is an important and often overlooked part of a comprehensive curriculum. Many times parents tend to focus on the broader aspects of math, science, social studies, and language. While these are all worthy of attention and are certainly important in a child’s education, we need not neglect the more specific and creative aspects of their learning. Check out these great ideas about how you can help your little one embrace the creative writing process.

 

  • Read – Reading and writing go hand in hand. Your kiddo will probably never desire to create tales of their own if they are rarely exposed to good stories at home. Carve out a few minutes each day to read aloud to your little one.
  • Provide Writing Supplies –Keep writing utensils such as pencils, markers, crayons, pens, and paper in an accessible and inviting space. Even if your child isn’t old enough to write full sentences, she can use the supplies to draw as well as practice letters and words.
  • Create Opportunity – In addition to providing the appropriate supplies for writing, parents can also create opportunities for writing. Dedicate a certain time each day for creative writing. Even if it only lasts for 15 minutes, the fact that you set aside time in the daily schedule communicates that writing is valuable.
  • Foster Vocabulary – Your child will never learn a new word without first hearing that word. Be intentional about nurturing your child’s vocabulary. The best way to do this is through reading. You can also play word games together. For instance, if your son says that something is cold, you could ask him if he can think of other words that mean the same thing as cold.
  • Poetry – There are many different aspects to creative writing. Your child may not enjoy writing a story, but love to create rhymes. Make sure your kiddo is exposed to poetry by providing books of poems for her to read. She might be inspired to create a poem of her very own!
  • Make use of Technology – Most kids today are tech savvy. Your child might enjoy typing rather than handwriting something creative. Older children and teens may enjoy beginning a blog or contributing to online fan fiction.
  • Start Early – We cannot over emphasize the importance of beginning the process sooner rather than later with your child. If you wish to raise a kid who loves writing, begin nurturing these qualities at a young age.

There are so many fun and easy ways to begin fostering the creative writing process in your child. One or two little changes or opportunities may be all it takes to bring the writer to life in your little one. If you’d like some more ideas on how you can raise a kid who loves to write, check out Red Apple Reading’s writing and poetry boards on Pinterest.