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RAISING A READER


Reading is the basis of your child's education. Even in math, success is achieved only in conjunction with appropriately developed reading and comprehension skills. Clearly, problem solving dominates a significant portion of the mathematics program.

Academic expectations of a kindergarten student are significantly higher today, than they were a decade ago.

Your child is expected to achieve specific provincial benchmarks each year. What you do at home with your child will have a lasting and significant impact on his academic success.

Nurture your child's mind every day with the following ten simple activities.

1. Read to your child daily. Reading experiences will expose your child to literature and to models of good reading behaviour.
  Encourage your child to select the book that she wishes to have read to her.
  Encourage your child to take part in the story by chiming in when the story is repetitive
  Encourage your child to take part in the reading exercise by having him turn the pages.
  Encourage your child to listen quietly rather than contribute his stories during story time. After the story is finished, the child should be encouraged to contribute comments, feelings and ideas about the story.

2. Surround your child's home environment with a variety of books.
  Include books by a selection of authors; modern, classic, your selections and your child's selections also.
  Include board books, hard cover and soft cover books in your child's library.
  Teach your child to respect books.
  Teach your child to use books with love and confidence.

3. Ensure that your home is rich in print and language stimulating possibilities.
  Magazines
  Newspapers
  telephone directories
  signs
  labels
  posters
  lists
  felt boards
  magnetic boards
  manuals
  recipe books
  activity books

4. Supply your child with an organized writing centre. Organize this centre in a series of shelves, boxes, drawers. Keep it neat and tidy to instil the concept of organization, at an early age.
  Your child's writing centre might include materials that are of interest to you, so that you may join your child when he is writing. It will also include;
  paper of different sizes, shapes, colours
  stapler
  tape
  pencils
  pencil crayons
  crayons
  stamps
  rulers
  Tracing tools…

5. Provide frequent opportunities for oral language development by allowing your child to express, his thoughts verbally.
  When your child asks you a question, treat the question as seriously as you would if it were asked by a friend.
  Ask you child open ended questions rather than questions that demand a yes/no answer.

6. Surround your child's home environment with a variety of educational toys.
  Ask your child questions while he is playing.
  Great toys include; blocks, puzzles, games, bathtub toys, construction toys…

7. Provide opportunities for active listening experiences. As your child listens he reflects and responds by talking, doing and thinking. Offer a variety of the following experiences:
  Movies
  children's television programs
  DVD's
  cassette tapes

8. Offer a multitude of opportunities which involve doing fun work and experiencing the world.
  Do simple science experiments.
  Cook with your child.
  Go on a trip to the local toy store where they have an interactive toy display for children to try.
  Go to the local zoo or science centre.
  Paint with your child.

9. Allow your child to experience music, dance and drama activities.
  Dance to music
  music tapes on car trips
  mime
  dress up
  costumes
  house centre including stove, fridge and pantry of items
  building centre including hammer
  exercise activities involving dance are great for parents and children

10. Create a positive learning atmosphere.
  Build a close relationship with your child. Be truly interested in what he has to say and do.
  Give your child genuine praise. Instead of saying; "Good work", be specific and say something like: "I like the shape of
  your brown tree trunk".
  Develop your home routines at an early age.
  Create a beautiful space for your child to learn, play and experience success.

For the full story, read the fall edition of Quality Of Life Omnimedia's Parents & Kids Magazine.

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