via what to expect: Check this out: A children’s library is the perfect place for your pipsqueak to begin her love affair with books. But even if your visit involves swinging by the grown-up section, going to the library with a toddler can have a happy ending (and beginning and middle too).

Your toddler doesn’t need to know how to read to enjoy going to the library, especially if it’s a children’s library, which is designed with her growing mind in mind. You may even get a kick out of a trip to the library with your tot in tow. For one thing, it’s impossible to sit down among the colorful picture books and not snuggle. And a fun day out with the kids could include toddler storytime, where a library staffer reads a great book for toddlers to a group of little guys and gals (that may buy you a few precious moments of peace). Since challenges may arise (toddlers are noisy newbies to quiet libraries), try these tips to fully enjoy going to the library.

  • Give your toddler a library preview. She’s seen books in her bedroom and maybe in bookcases around your house or even at the bookstore, but odds are she won’t have seen as many high shelves filled with books, books, and more books all in one space until she goes to the library. Give her the heads-up so she’s not (as) overwhelmed upon arrival. Also tell her who she’ll encounter (“The librarian is the nice person who helps us find books”) and what you’re going to do (“We’ll sit on the red carpet and read together”). When you get there, point out all the things you discussed at home (“That’s where they keep the Dr. Seuss books.” “We can find stories about puppies by using the computer”).
  • Practice using library voices. Before going to the library, talk about how it’s a special place with special rules. And one of the most important rules is keeping your voices down. Take turns whispering to each other before you go to the library, and give your itty-bitty bookworm a rule reminder once you arrive.
  • Talk about how to treat library books. You may not mind if your eager reader rips out pages from her books at home, but the librarians will if she goes to town on the children’s library books. Remind your child to be gentle with the pages, not to eat or drink near them, or draw on them.
  • Head to the hands-on section. Most children’s libraries have a special corner for their youngest patrons, complete with puzzles, quiet games, and chunky board books. Allow your darling to dig in — pick out a few games and books to enjoy right there and some books to borrow and take home. Point out old favorites (“Look, there’s Curious George!”) and new selections that might interest her (“Here’s a book about a ballerina — shall we look at it?”).
  • Stop by the grown-up section. Feel free to do a quick dash to the adults’ area — just don’t expect to spend more than a few minutes perusing before your toddler’s patience runs out. To extend your time and up the opportunities for toddler learning, whisper with your little one about the differences between the grown-up and children’s sections (“These bookshelves are taller.” “These books have more pages — and no pictures!”). This also might be a good time to park her with a special quiet toy (or book!) for a few minutes while you read a few dust jackets.
  • Sign up for toddler storytime. Cap off (or start off) a visit to a children’s library with storytime. Kids adore hearing stories read aloud, and storytime can serve as an introduction to the rules of preschool (sit still, be a good listener). One other not-so-obvious benefit: You may meet some fellow toddler moms to befriend.
  • Get your cutie a library card. If she’s old enough to go to the library, she’s probably old enough for her very first library card. Getting one is a proud moment, sure to give your child a big-kid sense of ownership — and an extra incentive to make a return visit to the library.

via Reading Rewards1. Start with a mini reading habit that is almost effortless

If you ask a child to read for an hour every day, when she’s used to doing something she loves with that time, it will feel like a major sacrifice. Instead, follow the wise advice of Stephen Guise, author of “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results”, who suggests you begin with a reading habit that is “too small to fail”.

Want to be able to do push-ups every day? Guise suggests you start with a single daily push-up. Then, after you’ve cemented the habit, gradually increase the number you do. Why not apply the same logic to reading? Get your child to read even five to ten minutes every day. In time, if you can find books your child will love, the daily reading time may naturally creep past your daily quota.

2. Increase your reading habit in small steps

Once you’ve established a mini reading habit, gradually aim to increase the time the child spends reading in each sitting. If, at first, your child finds it difficult to stay focused on reading for extended periods, try breaking his daily reading into multiple reading sessions.

3. Trigger the reading habit

Triggers can be a very helpful tool in the creation of a reading habit. For example, piggy-backing on another well-established habit can help keep children on track. If you establish that after dinner is reading time, after a few weeks your children won’t need reminding. The child will automatically think of reading after dinner.

4. Make reading enjoyable

It will be a lot easier to make reading a habit if your children take pleasure in their reading time. Do what you can to make their reading experience enjoyable, by setting up an inviting and comfortable environment with minimal distractions. You can also provide fun snacks to munch on, and turn reading into something you all do together as a family.

5. Make reading social

Another way to cultivate a reading habit is to make it social. Start a book club for kids, so your child is encouraged to read regularly and is rewarded with fun gatherings to discuss the book.

6. Be prepared

To nurture your child’s reading habit, it’s a good idea to remove the unnecessary friction of indecision. You can do that by maintaining a list of great book recommendations, so that your child is never without a stimulating book to read.

It’s also smart to keep the book your child is reading on hand for lost times during the week – like when you’re waiting in line at the passport office or waiting to be seen for a doctor’s checkup. Producing a good book as an antidote to boredom can help create a positive association to reading.

7. Create a reward

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes the habit loop as consisting of three steps: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue triggers a specific routine in order to earn a reward.

At Reading Rewards, we believe that the ultimate reward for reading…. is the reading itself. And many kids agree. But other, more reluctant readers, need a little extra encouragement to get started on the path to reading success. That’s why we built into our reading program the ability to define custom rewards. Here are some creative and affordable reading incentive ideas to help you make reading a habit.

8. Don’t break the chain

In the early days of Jerry Seinfeld’s success, he cultivated a writing habit by using a yearly wall calendar and a red marker, to put an ‘X’ on every day that he managed to write. His motivation to maintain his habit came from not wanting to ‘break the chain’.
Use the same philosophy to cultivate your child’s reading habit. Have her log her reading every day and urge her not to ‘break the chain’. Before long, her log will become a source of pride.

9. When you slip, get back on track quickly

As much as we want to encourage your children to maintain a daily habit, it’s important to focus on consistency, rather than perfection. Your child’s routine will inevitably be disrupted at some point. What matters is not the disruption, but the commitment to get right back on track as soon as possible.

10. Set a long term goal

Finally, another way to nurture a reading habit is to set a long-term goal. Challenge your kids to read a set number of minutes or books over the next month. And consider throwing in an extra incentive, like a reward that your child can earn when the goal is met.

Over To You

We hope we’ve given you at least a few tips to help you cultivate a reading habit in your child. We’d love to hear if they’ve worked for you, or if you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share.

via ReadingRockets: Electronic books, called e-books, are becoming more and more commonplace these days. Some readers, like the first generation Kindle and Nook devices, offer a basic digital version of a print book. Children scroll through the pages to read, and the experience is somewhat similar to reading a traditional book.

Newer, full-color, touchscreen devices such as iPads and the Nook Color have expanded what is possible to include e-books with many more features. These “enhanced” e-books offer a different reading experience. Often bought as apps through iTunes, these e-books provide lots of choice. A user can choose have the whole book read to them, or can choose to read the book themselves. E-book enhancements consist of a range of things, but often include listening to music that complements the story, playing story-related games, completing coloring pages, and more. Most children find interactive e-books fun and engaging. But do they help develop important early literacy skills such as letter names and letter sounds or more complex skills such as comprehension?

The e-book market is too young to have enough solid research on the topic to know for sure yet, but researchers have spent lots of time watching families with young children engage with e-books. These observations suggest that it’s easy for kids to get carried away with the digital nature of the e-book. Parents can help keep the focus on reading and the story by following three simple suggestions:

  • Recognize the novelty factor. The first few times your child is interacting with a new e-book, allow time for exploration of the features. Once your child has spent some time exploring, set out to read or listen to the story without too many non-story related interruptions. 
  • Enjoy the features, but don’t forget to focus on the story. See if you can help your child find a balance between having fun with the games and sticker books and really enjoying and understanding the story. As with all books, engage your reader in conversations about the story. “What do you think will happen next? What is your favorite part of the story?” 
  • Stay present with your child and the book experience. It’s tempting to let the device do the work — read the story, play a game and interact with your child. But there’s no substitute for quality parent-child conversation. Keep talking, commenting on interesting words and ideas, and sharing your love of literacy with your child.

Happy Children’s Book Day!

Studies after studies have shown that reading to your kids will equip them with substantial advantage over the other kids. It was found that kids who read are better equipped with a wider vocabulary and become better readers themselves.

Reading for kids is also one of the simplest way to increase your kids’ IQ. If you are keen to help develop your kids’ intelligence, encouraging your kids to read is something that you should be looking at.

Always bear in mind that parents play a significant role in instilling the love of reading in their kids.

On this Children’s Book Day, try encouraging your kids to read with the following tips!

Via Reading Rockets: Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read

We asked the parents and teachers who frequent our web site for their ideas about how to encourage kids, especially those who aren’t excited about books, to do more reading. Thanks to all you tip-sters out there, we received tons of advice, which we’ve summarized in the seven tips below.

1.”Read me a story!”

Nearly every suggestion sent in by our tip-sters had this message at its core. Whether snuggled under the covers with peanut-butter sandwiches, or following along with a book on tape while on a road trip, reading together is a powerful tool in motivating your child to read.

2. Beyond books

Our tip-sters were quick to point out that reading material comes in many different shapes and sizes, some of which may be more accessible to a new reader. Video games, magazines, and comic books all provide opportunities for reading practice. Other suggestions for sneaking under a wary child’s reading radar include playing board games that involve written instructions, corresponding with a pen pal, and turning on the closed captioning on your television. To illustrate the practical side of reading, have your child help you with the grocery list, or leave reminder notes for your child to discover throughout the day.

3. Keep it fun, for everyone

Another message that came through loud and clear was that if kids are going to enjoy reading, the experience has to be enjoyable. As you read with your children, keep them involved by asking questions about the story, and let them fill in the blanks. You can also create activities related to the stories you’re reading. In one household, reading Little House on the Prairie prompted lively games of “wagon-train” and discussions about life on the frontier. Another family likes to create mini-plays, acting out the stories they read. While her grandson “helps” in the garden, one grandmother spells words for him to write out using a muddy stick. Once the word is complete, the two of them sound it out together, wipe the word away, then move onto the next. This reading game keeps her grandson occupied for hours.

4. “Look at what I did!”

Another successful approach to motivating your child is to use some sort of visible record of achievement. A chart or graph that marks the number of books a child has read gives him or her a sense of accomplishment. To spice it up a bit, choose a theme that goes along with your child’s interests. One example would be a Reading Olympics, where the child goes for the gold by reading a certain number of books.

A similar method can be used to help expose your child to the wide variety of genres available for exploration. Create a Bingo card or Passport where each space can be filled in by reading a mystery book, or a piece of non-fiction, to give a few examples. Once the goal has been reached, reward your child with something to celebrate his or her special achievement. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate – one-on-one time with a parent or teacher, or an ice cream cone are suggestions from our tip-sters – just something that lets your child know how proud you are of his or her accomplishment.

5. “I want that one!”

Reading should be a choice, not a chore. Make sure there are a variety of books, magazines, and other materials available for your child to choose from, wherever your child may be. Let your child’s interests guide his or her reading choices. While it’s fine to make suggestions, don’t force your conceptions of what your child should be reading onto your child. And, keep an eye on the reading level of the books your children choose. Let them stretch to the best of their ability, but be ready to help if they get discouraged.

6. Something to talk about

Reading doesn’t have to stop when you put the book down. Talk to your child about books you’ve read and books you think he or she might enjoy. Point out similarities between everyday events and stories you have recently read. If your child has a favorite author, help your child write him or her a letter. For a more structured discussion, consider joining, or starting, a parent/child book club.

7. Hey, kids! What time is it?

Regardless of how motivated your child is, he or she will not read if there isn’t any time to do so. Carve time out of the busy day and dedicate it to reading, both together and on your own. By setting aside specific times, rather than trying to squeeze it in between soccer and dance lessons, you send the message that reading is an important activity, and something your child will enjoy.

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner! It’s the time of the year to dress up your kids in the cutest green costume and go on St. Patrick’s Day parade!

What if your little one is more of an introvert and prefer to stay at home instead of going on to the crowded overwhelming event? Try cozy up with your kids by reading these St. Patrick’s Day books with them!

In the following articles, a list of 10 St. Patrick’s Day books that encourages your kids to try their luck, to dream and to play are listed in detail. Grab these recommended books for kids now!

Via Modern Parents Messy Kids: 10 St. Patrick’s Day Books for Kids

It’s time for St. Patricks Day books! Any time I flip over the calendar to see a new month, I know it’s time to start requesting holiday books from the library.

With the Irish holiday just around the corner, these ten St. Patrick’s Day books are perfect for celebrating all things green and gold.

Whether you’re looking for an informational book about the holiday, a classic folk tale, or just a fun tale of a tricky leprechaun, one (or more) of these books will fit the bill for your preschool or elementary-age child.

There Once Was a Man Named Michael Finnegan by Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott –

This hilariously illustrated version of the song is perfect for preschoolers and early elementary-aged children. Not only will it tickle their funny bones, but I also think it’s important for kids to be familiar with classic folk songs.

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola –

I always appreciate when beloved authors write books that work for the holidays too; it’s so comforting to see familiar illustrations in a new story. His retelling of a popular folktale recounts lazy Jamie O’Rourke’s dismay when his wife – who does all the work in the house – is injured and Jamie fears they may starve. Until he happens on a leprechaun and thinks he might be able to provide without doing any work himself.

Leprechauns Never Lie by Lorna Bailian and Lecia Balian –

This updated picture book follows Ninny Nanny who refuses to do any work, except search for leprechaun gold. Of course, she spends so much time and effort doing so, she might have been better off just doing her chores in the first place. The lesson in this book isn’t overbearing, but does offer an opportunity for a little teaching moment.

O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott –

When the tax collectors take the witch’s horse, Kate O’Sullivan’s village starts to go hungry, thanks to the witch’s anger. But feisty Kate won’t give up easily and she sets off to recover the horse, which lands her in trouble with the kind. Fortunately, her quick wits and storytelling skills save the day. If you’re looking for a book to read aloud, this is the one (especially if you do it with an Irish brogue!)

That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully –

A leprechaun’s main job is to hide gold at the end of the rainbow. But they also certainly like getting up to mischief too. This silly and light-hearted tale by one of children’s literature’s most beloved authors will definitely win over your little ones.

Too Many Leprechauns by Stephen Krensky and Dan Andreasen –

When Finn O’Finnegan comes home to visit his mother for a relaxing vacation, he’s displeased to find that a whole crew of busy leprechauns are making the quiet town noisy around the clock. Fortunately, Finn is more than a match for those leprechauns. The gorgeous illustrations on this book completely won me over.

Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott –

The sly humor in this book, as Tim O’Toole is tricked out of one treasure after another, thanks to his inability to keep his mouth shut about his new possessions, delights me every time. Plus, I always love reading books by illustrators who won the Caldecott medal.

Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute –

A retelling of the Celtic story “The Field of Boliauns,” Clever Tom thinks he can outwit the leprechaun and make off with his gold. But it turns out the leprechaun has a few tricks of his own up his sleeve. If your child loves folktales, they’ll especially love the pages at the end detailing leprechaun folklore.

The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards –

When two harpists set off to compete in a musical contest, one of the two tries to sabotage his companion in order to better his chances. But, as happens in most folk tales, cheaters never prosper. I’m a big fan of Henry Cole’s illustration style, and this book is no exception.

St Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons –

It took me only a few weeks of being a school librarian to discover that Gail Gibbons is one of the top names in elementary-level non-fiction. This one details the life of St. Patrick, how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, and shares six legends about Patrick himself. Pair with one of the fiction books on this list for a perfect match.

MAma speaks:

“I love reading. My kids on the other hand, just have so much energy to burn. The take home from this is to be consistent, allocate 20 mins daily reading to them so that it eventually turns into a habit.”

Besides keeping children safe and healthy, parents should also practice reading to their kids.

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) is encouraging parents to improve their kids’ literacy by beginning to read to their children starting from a young age. Research has revealed that early reading with children actually helps them in learning how to speak, engage, bond with their parents and get into a reading habit in their early years by themselves. It also helps when they are reading with kids who already know how to read, and the knowledge gathered from reading can help make them feel closer to their caretakers as they become more emphathetic, and comprehend the world around them better as well.

Furthermore, the stories kids hear when they’re young are the ones that they keep in mind the most. As such, reading together with their mom and dad allows them to have a lot of warm and unforgettable family memories. It has also been proven that reading to kids can help in strengthening the bond between parents and their kids, resulting in better relationships in the long run.

You have already made up your mind and decided that you would like to read more to your kids, but thinking that they mightn’t sit still and listen? Then check out this video now for top tips on how you can read to your active kids more effectively!

Via The Straits Times: Why kids should be read to – even if they can read on their own

Many of us will be able to recall the enjoyment of shared reading: being read to and sharing reading with our parents. However, my research has found that of the 997 Year 4 and Year 6 respondents (equivalent to upper primary in Singapore) at 24 schools which took part in last year’s Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading, nearly three-fifths reported that they were not being read to at home.

A sample of these children also participated in interviews where I asked them how they felt about shared reading. While a few children did not mind no longer being read to, others were disappointed when it stopped.

For example, when I asked Jason about his experience of being read to by his parents, he explained: “…they kind of stopped when I knew how to read. I knew how to read, but I just still liked my mum reading it to me.”

His experience is common, with other recent research suggesting that more than one-third of Australian respondents aged six to 11 whose parents had stopped reading to them wanted it to continue.

But why is it so important for us to keep reading with our children for as long as possible?

Research has typically found that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Benefits of shared reading include facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes towards reading.

When we read aloud to children, it is also beneficial for their cognitive development, with parent-child reading activating brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery. While most of the research in this area focuses on young children, this does not mean that these benefits somehow disappear as children age.

As young people’s attitudes towards reading reflect their experiences of reading at home and at school in childhood and beyond, providing an enjoyable shared reading experience at home can help to turn children into lifelong readers.

However, not all shared reading experiences are enjoyable. Some children described having poor quality experiences of being read to, and children did not typically enjoy reading to distracted or overly critical parents.

In some cases, parents attempted to outsource this responsibility to older siblings, with mixed results.

While many children really enjoyed the social aspects of reading and being read to as valuable time with their parents, they also felt that they learnt from these experiences. For example, listening was felt to provide an opportunity to extend vocabulary and improve pronunciation.

Gina recalled the advantage she lost when her parents stopped reading to her: “When they did read to me when I was younger, I learnt the words; I would like to learn more words in the bigger books and know what they are so I could talk more about them.”

Similarly, Craig explained how being read to enabled his academic advantage in literacy, as “they were teaching me how to say more words”, and “that’s why I’m ahead of everyone in spelling and reading and English”. When this stopped, “just because my mum thought I was smart enough to read on my own and started to read chapter books”, Craig was disappointed.

In addition, some children were terrified of reading aloud in class, and this fear could potentially be alleviated through more opportunities to practise at home.

Hayden’s anxiety around reading aloud at school related to his lack of confidence, and his tendency to compare his skills with those of his peers. He described himself as “always standing up there shivering, my hands are shivering, I just don’t want to read, so I just start reading. And I sound pretty weird”. No one read with him at home, so he had limited opportunity to build his confidence and skills.

This research suggests that we should not stop reading with our children just because they have learnt to read independently.

We should keep reading with our children until they no longer wish to share reading with us, ensuring these experiences are enjoyable as they can influence children’s future attitudes towards reading, as well as building their confidence and competence as readers. It is worth the effort to find time to share this experience with our children in the early years and beyond.