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John Monfredo: Some Great Ideas for ‘Read Across America Week’

Saturday, March 01, 2014

 

Research has shown that parents who read to their children help their children develop an interest in reading and a love for reading. Photo: Flickr/nedradio

If you are a Saturday reader to GoLocalWorcester you realize that next week is the start of “Reading Across Worcester Week.” This event is another way of highlighting the importance of literacy in our city. It’s my hope that this concept will be embraced by the community.

The importance of reading in a child’s life cannot be emphasized enough. The child who reads well will be more likely to find success while the child who reads poorly will be handicapped and always at a disadvantage in all aspects of his school life, as well as all other phases of his/her life in the future. Reading is the cornerstone of academic success and also central to a child’s overall health and according to research 75% of what we learn will come from the printed page.

I have put together some practical and workable suggestions that have proven successful in assisting children with their reading.

  • Read to your children: Research has shown that parents who read to their children and provide many books and magazines or make use of the public library help their children develop an interest in reading and a love for reading. If parents could read to their child for 20 minutes a night we could revolutionize education. That’s how powerful reading aloud is…
  • Show interest in your children’s reading: Children want you to notice their achievements. Look at their school papers and have them practice the skills they are learning at school. Have your children read anything and everything to you.
  • Daily Conversations: Encourage your child to express him/herself in conversation by having conversations with them. Show your child that you are interested in what he/she has to say by listening closely and commenting upon it.
  • Library visits: Regular visits to the public library is a must. The Library is the best investment in the city and it’s free. Be sure that your child has a library card and go there often.
  • Reading often and start a home library: The more children read the better reader they become. Help your child discover the enjoyable experiences that can be received from reading at home. Get books from him at used books stores, at flea markets, or at the various book stores.
  • Magazines: In addition to the home library subscribe to children’s magazines because for a fairly reasonable price you can get a magazine subscription that will provide enjoyment for them all year long.
  • Availability and being a model: The most important fact in getting children to read is the availability of reading materials in the home. Keep newspapers, magazines, books and any other printed material available, conspicuous and convenient around. Let your children see you read for you are modeling good reading habits. You need to stress the importance of reading by reading.
  • Movie based on a book: Whenever your child tells you about a movie or television show he/she has seen remember to tell them that there is a book upon which the picture was based. Ask if they would want to read it.
  • Journal writing: “We read to write and write to read” so be sure to encourage your child to keep a journal and write their thoughts in the journal each day.
  • Writing ideas … Include the following literacy events in your home: writing a letter to a friend or relative, helping to create a grocery list, making a list of what you need to do tomorrow, and writing cards to someone for a special event taking place.
  • Bedtime reading: Let your child read in bed before turning in for the night.
  • Value of board games: Much learning takes place at play. Buy and have your child play with games that have an educational value.
  • Bookmark: Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don't have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don't try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn't like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.
  • Limit the television use: Limit your children's television viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading. Consider the use of television during the school week to one hour a day.
  • Reading material other than books: Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family's busy day.

 

Take the time to try some of these ideas out. Remember reading develops critical thinking, thus ensuring that children will be able to think and make good decisions for themselves. Literacy development starts in the home so please take the time to make reading a daily part of your activities at home. Please remember reading is undeniably one of the foundations for success in society and it all starts in the home.

 

Related Slideshow: New England’s School Policy and Performance Grades

According to a report released by Education Week, these are the state report cards for the New England states in 2014:

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6. Maine

Chance for success: C+

National Rank: 25

K-12 achievement: C

National Rank: 13

School finance analysis: B

National Rank: 10

Prev Next

5. Rhode Island

Chance for success: B-

National Rank: 21

K-12 achievement: D+

National Rank: 27

School finance analysis: B

National Rank: 5

Prev Next

4. Vermont

Chance for success: B

National Rank: 7

K-12 achievement: C+

National Rank: 5

School finance analysis: B

National Rank: 6

Prev Next

3. Connecticut

Chance for success: B+

National Rank: 4

K-12 achievement: C-

National Rank: 14

School finance analysis: B+

National Rank: 4

Prev Next

2. New Hampshire

Chance for success: B+

National Rank: 3

K-12 achievement: C+

National Rank: 4

School finance analysis: B-

National Rank: 13

Prev Next

1. Massachusetts

Chance for success: A-

National Rank: 1

K-12 achievement: B

National Rank: 1

School finance analysis: B

National Rank: 11

 
 

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