When I taught fifth grade it felt like there were never enough books in our class library. What started out as one half-filled bookshelf eventually became two that were overflowing. I ordered every book I could afford and brought books from home once my daughters were finished with them. From Harry Potter (for the very brave) to Captain Underpants to Charlotte’s Web, one thing my students could count on was variety. There was no excuse for not finding a book worth their reading time.
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that my little girl started Kindergarten last week. It has been quite an adventure for the whole family. Based on my experiences so far (and yes—I know they are limited), I thought I’d offer some tips and insight for those of you who have preschoolers.
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.
My three oldest children started the new school year last week. My daughter started high school, my son began his first year in middle school, and my younger daughter started Kindergarten. As I shooed everyone out the door that first morning praying their day would be a good one, I took a moment to take in the stillness of the house and the quiet the new school year had already beckoned into my home. I thought of all the work I’d get done while they were gone and the nap I might steal before the last bell rang. I realized that like myself, parents all over the county were secretly celebrating these little gifts that the fall had afforded them. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with counting your blessings, it occurred to me how easy it would be to simply wave goodbye to my children in the mornings and let the teachers take care of the rest. That’s what school’s for, right? Wrong! Although school is indeed back in session, our job as parents and co-educators has just begun. If you don’t believe me, just wait until your middle-schooler brings home a mountain of homework.
When was the last time you went to a baby shower and saw children’s books on the gift registry? No, I haven’t seen that either, but it’s not a bad idea. In fact it could end up being one of the most valuable gifts for that new baby’s first years of life.
According to the latest research, early exposure to books can be an important component of a child’s development, and will provide a solid foundation for the expansion of reading skills. Even infants can benefit from being read to, as they gain valuable practice with the many aspects of language and reading, including:
Reading is the foundation of education. Every aspect of learning, from grade school through graduate school, requires students to read text, comprehend what they read, and use that comprehension to complete tasks and assignments. But before students can use their reading skills to learn, they have to learn to read!
While preschools and elementary schools introduce reading skills and build on instruction as a child progresses, children will benefit from an early introduction to early reading skills in the home environment. Reading practice can begin before a child enters preschool and can continue as an essential part of your child’s development. Here are a few online resources to get you started.
Does your child dislike school? Do his grades leave something to be desired? As you and your youngster are preparing for back-to-school, it’s important to keep in mind the early warning signs that a problem may be on the horizon. Returning to school in the fall makes for a busy time of year for kids and parents alike, but don’t wait until parent-teacher conference time to inquire about your child’s academic progress. Unfortunately, many parents wait until it’s clear that their child is struggling before they take steps to correct the problem. By this time, the damage may already be done. To keep your child from slipping through the cracks, take a proactive approach by looking for these five signs that the new school year is posing problems for your child.
STEM has been getting a lot of attention in the education world lately, and many parents may be wondering what all of the hullabaloo is about. I for one am happy to see that reading and math are not the only subjects getting attention in school anymore. I was beginning to worry that all might be lost in the sciences and arts!
As the big day approaches, I’m feeling more and more nervous about my little one going to Kindergarten in the fall. I must be doing a fairly good job of hiding it though, because unlike me, Miss Katie is counting down the days. She can’t wait to meet her teacher, make new friends, and “play with the toys!” In my heart, I know she’ll be fine, but my head keeps reminding me of all the things that could go wrong.
You’ve probably been there too—we all want our kids to thrive, no matter where they are in life. Whether your little one is entering Kindergarten this year or next, knowing what will be expected of her, and also knowing what you can expect as a parent can help ease your fears.
Whether you’re just beginning to read to your child in the womb, helping him get ready for Kindergarten, or preparing him for college, the same question will apply when it comes to literacy: What kinds of books should my child be reading? Many a concerned parent frets over this question, and the answer may very well differ from child to child and from family to family. If you ask me, pretty much any book with pages will suffice! That may be an exaggeration, of course, but the underlying message rings true—what your child is reading doesn’t matter nearly as much as the simple fact that he is reading!