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Tips for Parents

One of the simplest things you can do to help your child succeed in life is to read together every day. Don't wait until the child's first day of school to begin at-home reading. The sooner you begin, the smarter your child becomes. Below are some tips. Modify any of these activities to suit yourself and the interests of your child.

Book Making

Help your child write, bind, and illustrate a book, photo album, or scrapbook. The books can include photos and personal narratives detailing family events and milestones.

Family Read-Aloud

Choose a book and have a different family member read aloud one chapter each night. Or, all family members choose something to read or look at during a designated quiet time in the evening.

Read-More Chart

Create a chart listing each book a child reads over the summer and the number of minutes spent reading each day. Generate a rewards list for every 30 minutes the child reads. Rewards can be a trip to the library, staying up 15 minutes past bedtime or a special snack. Display the chart in a prominent place in the home and update it as each book is completed.

Create a Reading Journal

Make a reading log. The blank pages of the book can be filled with pictures of a child's favorite part in a story or description and feelings about the stories.

Read a Recipe

Create a small meal or a snack by reading and following directions from a recipe. Children will learn measurements, time and temperatures, as well as how to follow sequenced directions. Pick out a recipe together. Make a shopping list together for all the ingredients. Go to the store with your child and find the items on your list. Have your child help put away the groceries at home. Then read the recipe and prepare a meal together.

Self-guided Nature Walk

Take your child on a nature walk. A resource book is used to identify birds, trees, flowers and other elements of nature.

Folktale project

Tell your child a folktale from your culture or family. The child then creates a book or pictures of the folktale to be read and displayed in the house.

Reading Hand in Hand

Parents and children trace and cut out their handprints on brightly colored paper. During a two-week period families write the names of the books read together on the fingers. At the end of the two weeks display the handprints hand-in-hand with parent's and child's fingers linked together.

Create Words

Ask your child to choose a word, any word, to make from the play dough. Roll the play dough into coils about the thickness of a pencil. When you have several coils, bend and pinch them to form the letters of the word. Allow your child to trace the letters with his/her finger. Then choose another word, mash the play dough together, and start again.

Make Your Own Dictionary

Help your child write one letter of the alphabet on every page of the notebook. Cut out pictures from old magazines that start with the letters on the pages. Have your child paste the pictures on the appropriate pages. Then help your child label each picture.

Label Your Home

Choose a room in your home, such as the kitchen. With your child, think about all the things in your kitchen. When one of you thinks of a word, write it on a sticky note in clear, big letters. Try to use words your child can sound out. Then help your child label the kitchen with the sticky notes. While eating breakfast or making dinner, ask your child to spell a label word, such as cup or sink.