Fort Washington Elementary School Library and Media Center
Raising Children who Love to Read
Reading is undoubtedly the most important skill your children will learn during the elementary years. When they learn to read well, all their other learning both in and outside the classroom becomes much easier.
The importance of reading with your children
“Nothing you do for your children is ever wasted.”- Garrison Keller, radio personality and author
Research has shown that reading together with your children for even a few minutes a day can help them learn basic reading skills more quickly and encourage them to make reading a life-long habit. Unfortunately, after-school activities-though important pursuits-along with round-the-clock children’s television and portable computer games often leave little time for families to read together each day.
Following are some fun and creative ways to incorporate reading into your daily lives:
- Read aloud every day. Reading aloud to children has been called the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for reading success. Reading aloud helps children learn about written language, about the world around them, and about the connection between spoken and written words. Read aloud with your children even as they get older, and have your children read to you. Some families carve out a half hour of reading time before bed; others enjoy a book in the morning along with their Cheerios. Remember, too, to talk with your children about the books they read. Ask them about the story and help them with new vocabulary words.
- Eat your words. Who says reading has to happen at bedtime? For reluctant readers, getting to eat a luscious chocolate cake you’ve baked after reading a book about food can spark a lot of enthusiasm. Some great books to try with your eager readers/eaters include:
Sun Bread by Elisa Klevin
Mr. Belinsky’s Bagels by Ellen Schwartz
The Little Red Hen (Makes A Pizza) by Philemon Sturges
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
It’s Disgusting and We Ate It!: True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History by James Solheim
The Little House Cookbook by Barbara Walker
Knead It! Punch It! Bake It! The Ultimate Breadmaking Book for Parents and Kids by Judith Jones
- Take it on the road. Down time before soccer practice or a long wait at the orthodontist’s office are times when a good book comes in handy. Pack a bag of books and leave it in your car for these occasions.
- Let them choose what they want to read. Maybe you’d like them to fall in love with the Tales of Narnia just like you did as a kid. But to spark their interest in reading, you need to let them make their own choices, too (A note: Though you may not be able to stomach them, Justice League comics and Lizzie Maguire novels do count as well written choices!)
- Next stop, the library. Work in weekly trips to the library to stock up on books, and take advantage of the programs available for families. Introduce your children to the youth service librarians and ask for their help finding stories your children will like.
- Tie reading to summertime activities. There are so many wonderful fiction and non-fiction books that celebrate the seasons. A few about the summer include:
Come on Rain by Karen Hesse
Sun Dance, Water Dance by Jonathan London
Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blume
Letters from Camp: A Mystery by Kate Klise
If your family will be going on vacation this summer, consider taking along some books that relate to your journey. One parent whose family was headed for a week in Maine stocked up on picture and reference books about ocean life from the library.
Fighting Primetime (andGameboys/girlsandGameCubes…)
Becoming a good reader, like any other skill, takes time and practice. By limiting television, computer use and video games, you give your children that much more opportunity to read along with you or read solo. The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics recommends that children’s use of TV, movies, and video and computer games be limited to no more than 1 or 2 hours per day.
Some facts about TV and reading:
- American children watch nearly four hours of television every day. Watching movies on tape and playing video games only add to time spent in front of the TV screen.
- Children spend more time in front of the tube each year than they do in school.
- A 2000 study by Nielson Media research found that students who watched TV or played video games six or more hours per day earned the lowest average scores on reading proficiency tests, while students who watched an hour or less per day earned the highest average scores.
Learning disabilities and reading
Learning disabilities like dyslexia make it harder for children to learn to read through conventional teaching methods. While intervention at school is essential to help these children become successful readers, families also play an important role. If your child has been identified as having a learning disability related to reading, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
- Tap into your children’s areas of strength. Though some children can have great difficulty reading, they might easily understand through listening. Take advantage of their strengths. Rather than forcing reading, which can set your children up to fail and learn to dislike books, let them listen to you read or play a book on tape.
- Make sure their books are at their reading level. Most children with learning disabilities will be reading below grade level. Today, there are plenty of good books that will keep their interest and yet not frustrate them.
Book Buddy Program
The library at FWES is an important resource for our students. From easy readers and favorite classics to handy reference materials, it gives our children ready and regular access to all sorts of literature.
During the past few years, hundreds of new books have been added to the library as a result of the FWES Book Buddyprogram. To continue this outstanding initiative, the program asks for your help in purchasing new books for the library. You may have your child select a title from a catalog or website or simply allow Mrs. Berezovske to order a title for the library collection. Either way, it couldn’t be easier to enrich our library. Just fill out the form below and return it to the Main Office.
All donated books cost $18 and will be imprinted with a commemorative sticker inside the front cover that includes your child’s name, the date of the donation, and the occasion for which it was given. So why not remember a birthday, mark an academic milestone, or simply celebrate one of your shared favorites through the Book Buddy program. Please fill out one form for each child participating. Forms are available in the Library.
Links and resources for students and parents
Click here for some tips for selecting and using literature with your children.
Internet Public Library
(Kidspace provides websites for children by subject)
(a directory of websites)
(information on books and authors)
(a directory of educational resources)
(online databases provided by the state)
Public library card required for home use.
World Book Online
(an online encyclopedia provided by the district)
Password required for home use.
Reading Resources for Parents
Read•Write•Now! – Age appropriate activities for reading and writing fun from the U.S. Department of Education: http://www.udel.edu/ETL/RWN/Encourage.html
The Children’s Literature Web Guide – http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/lists.html
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by EsmŽ Raji Codell
The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children by Eden Ross Lipson
The Read-Aloud Handbook and Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud by Jim Trelease
Reprinted with permission of the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service, all rights reserved.