Good Evening, Kansas City!
We’re just a few weeks into 2016 and social media has been abuzz with updates on New Year’s resolutions. From increased physical activity to a healthier diet and just about everything in between, most of us try to make steps towards self-improvement with the turn of the calendar each year. Tonight, I wanted to take a moment to encourage each of you to resolve to do something with your children this year but, first, allow me to introduce you to the most important person in my life:
This is my daughter, Charlotte. She will be 5 in February and she is both my greatest joy and my greatest inspiration. Charlotte will be starting kindergarten this year and I’m
scared to death excited for this next great adventure in her little life. Like many of you, I have a strong desire to help build a foundation for my child that will inspire a lifelong love of learning. I want to foster a strong desire within my daughter to learn and explore and I’m doing that, in part, through reading. Children’s Mercy research shows that 15 to 20 percent of all children will experience difficulty in learning to read which makes building a foundation for success critical in the early years of life.
Reading to your children is one of the easiest ways that you can help grow their love for learning and to promote literacy, a skill that will carry them through their lives. This year, resolve to read more to your child. In the midst of your hectic schedule, dedicate at least 10-15 minutes before bedtime to snuggle up for a good book. I think you’ll find that this short amount of time will not only help your child develop a love for reading but will also bring you closer to each other. Reading is also a great way for your young child to develop a bond with elderly grandparents. Charlotte spent some time reading with my grandmother over the holiday break which was such a sweet image to capture:
Charlotte and I have been reading aloud together since she was a newborn and we’re finally at the point now where she’s taking an interest in being the reader. We’re actively working on developing her early reading skills and I wanted to close tonight’s post with some tips and resources that I, personally, find helpful in this critical period in my own daughter’s life. Take a look…
Reading Tips For Your Family:
- Engage– What is your child’s favorite book? One of Charlotte’s current favorites is “Pick Me”, a story about a shelter dog who realizes that he doesn’t have to impress anyone in order to find a loving home. In random conversation, I’ll ask Charlotte questions about the story: her favorite parts and what she learned from it. It’s a great way to gauge how much information is being retained with each book and, who knows, you may be surprised at the new favorite books you’ll discover!
- Foster– How do you want to cultivate a love of books in your kids? I would say that one of the most challenging things for parents is learning how to make reading FUN. On your drive home from work tomorrow, spend a few minutes thinking about how YOU can help instill a love for reading within your own child. Our family sometimes comes up with our own stories before bedtime and it’s always so fun to hear what Charlotte has come up with. The other night, she told us a story about a dragon who came to our home and stole our pets. When we approached the dragon, we discovered that he was lonely and in need of a friend so we sat down for a family meeting and came to the mutual agreement that the dragon would give up our cat and fish in exchange for keeping our dog, who had been naughty earlier that day (Charlotte was still mad at the dog and it manifested itself during storytime).
- Dedicate– What tips do you have for other moms who find themselves too busy to read regularly to their young children? As you sit down to think about how you’ll dedicate time to reading with your hectic schedule, consider what you would tell another mom who was in your shoes. Sometimes viewing it from a different perspective helps us find time that we didn’t otherwise realize we had.
Children’s Mercy is a resource that I have found to be tremendously helpful through the years with Charlotte. In addition to the quality care that they provide at their hospitals and clinics, they also offer an abundance of resources to help families with everyday needs as well. If your family is struggling with reading, I suggest looking into the Children’s Mercy Rhyming to Reading program.
“Developed by our pediatric specialists in speech pathology, Rhyming to Reading™ is a systematic, multi-sensory and research based program that is designed to help educators, speech-language pathologists and parents teach young children early reading skills through visual, auditory and kinesthetic-tactile means.”
Be sure to take a peek at the Children’s Mercy Facebook page for more everyday parenting tips!
From iFamily to Yours,