Dr. Seuss would have turned 106 on March 2nd. If you have a young child, this comes as no surprise as most schools celebrate March 2 as Seuss Day. Read Across America has also dubbed the day as National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association. What a great opportunity to scoop up those children who haven't yet embraced reading for entertainment by whisking them away on a trip inside the whimsical world of Whos and Sneetches.
"The years from birth through age 5 are a critical time for children's development and learning. At home and in early childhood educational settings, young children learn important skills that can provide them with the cornerstones needed for development of later academic skills. Research confirms that patterns of learning in preschool are closely linked to later achievement: children who develop more skills in the preschool years perform better in primary grades." - National Institute For Literacy
We all know that literacy starts at home. If we are going to prepare our little ones for success, we need to surround them with reading from day one. Take every opportunity you can to sit down with your child and read, even if it's just to look at the pictures. Be a good example: children who see their parents reading for pleasure are more likely to read too.
Are you having trouble choosing just the right books for your child? Look no further than your local library. The librarians in the children's section are trained to help you select age-appropriate books. Are you working on specific concepts, such as the alphabet or shapes? Your library is going to have a vast selection of the books suitable for your child's stage of development. Can't make it to the library? Check out this link for great lists and resources on selecting great books. http://www.rif.org/parents/goodbooks/default.mspx
What do you do if you have a reluctant reader or a kid who flatly refuses to read anything? I know your pain. My husband and I are avid readers yet one of our children has convinced himself that reading is simply not fun. Don't give up! In the case of my 9 year old, we are suggesting all genres of books hoping that something sticks. We've found that he enjoys manga books that we buy at our local comic book shop. Just be sure to ask someone familiar with manga about the content of these books so you're sure the books are age appropriate. We've also found that renting books on CD and Playaway devices are popular with him and we're hoping that the message that reading is fun is starting to seep in.
We also have an informal book club most evenings before bedtime. I pop a bowl of popcorn and sit down with my two oldest (7 year old girl and 9 year old boy) and read a book that I feel would be interesting to both of them. Right now we're reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. The book is 544 pages long, which sounds exhausting. Instead, it's been a whirlwind of adventure and mystery with many beautiful pencil illustrations throughout the book, making it engaging for the kids to read and watch the story unfold. We read for anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, with each child taking a page or two every chapter or two and reading it aloud to all of us. My kids are engaged, reminding me quickly when I've forgotten my place from the night before. This is not only a great literacy exercise, but a great relationship builder with your older children.
Some great sources for inspiration:
Scholastic has a great resource for book lists here: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/search/?isParent=Y&N=2078&Nty=1&isBrowse=Y&_N=2078&No=15
Amazon has a list of the top selling picture books of 2009. Check it out for some inspiration.