Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Is Here

At last, fall is here and summer is officially over--at least according to the calendar. As fall arrives it can be fun to read about seasonal changes. Check out your local library and bookstores for books about the effects of the changing season, such as cooler temperatures, leaves turning colors, patterns in the sky. Seek out books about foods that are associated with the cooler weather, such as apples, pears, pumpkins (more on those later for sure!), and cider. If your region is less affected by these changes your child might still enjoy reading about the wonders of changing seasons that other areas experience.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Questions, Anyone?

After finishing a book, ask your child some questions to help her recall the story and better understand it. Be sure to ask questions that require her to expand on her answer. If you ask questions that just have a yes or no answer, your child may stop right there. Yes/no questions are fine, as long as you keep things going. For example after asking whether she enjoyed the story, ask her why she liked it. Asking who, what, why, when, and how questions is a good way to encourage her to think more deeply about her response.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

International Literacy Day

Today I had the privilege to attend the International Literacy Day Symposium at the United Nations. It was a day of inspiration for me. I was struck by how many people are illiterate. UNESCO estimates that worldwide there are nearly 800 million adults who cannot read. The implications for raising children; for health of infants, children, and families; and for economic and general well-being are staggering. I was also amazed at the partnerships--UNESCO, industry, philanthropists, governments, and non-governmental organizations--that are devoted to efforts to eradicate illiteracy around the globe. And then I thought about the people like you--parents, caretakers, home schoolers, preschool teachers, tutors--who one child at a time are helping create readers. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Be Cool in Preschool

Here is a way to help your child make a smooth transition if she is new to preschool, or even if it is a school your child knows. Offer to come in and visit the classroom to read with the class. Most teachers will welcome your presence. Of course you will want to wait until school is well underway and the class routines are set to actually visit. But now might be a good time to make your interest and willingness known.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Last Call for Summer Memories

If you and your preschooler worked on a book about his summer activities, such as vacations, family visits, and other events, this is a a good time to either finish the book or create one. Let him dictate to you and he can illustrate it or use photos and other souvenirs. Read it together. It will be a nice way to relive the memories of summer and will give him a refresher on what he might have forgotten. If he is starting at preschool, it is likely that when school opens one of the conversations will be about what children did over the summer. Having just recalled his own happy experiences, he may be inclined to share his memories with his teacher and classmates.

What I think . . .

There are all kinds of readers. Some—like my daughter and me—are never without a book to read for pleasure. Others—like my son—are careful, analytical, and curious readers who read primarily to seek information from the page.

No matter what kind of reader your child becomes, you can help him or her get started. After all, you are your child’s first teacher. And, best of all, you can have some fun in the process.

Please feel free to share your own ideas. Tell me about ways you've enjoyed reading with your child.

Madeline Boskey, Ph.D.