CHARLESTON – Decades after its start, Read Aloud West Virginia continues to work with parents, volunteers, teachers, business partners and others to encourage the Mountain State’s youngest residents to get excited about the written word.
With the end of summer break now in sight, Read Aloud experts share some suggestions for staving off “the summer slide.” Their top six tips for parents:
ν Read to your child – daily! You make sure your child brushes his/her teeth daily, right? Isn’t a healthy brain as important as healthy body?
ν Let your child see you reading. Habits are caught more than taught.
ν Visit the library with your child. In addition to checking out regular books, consider a book on tape for car trips (on vacation or running errands) or for a family “listening party” right before bed. You may even want to listen to tapes of old radio shows and introduce them to the entertainment enjoyed by their grandparents.
4. Encourage your child to read what he or she wants to read — comic books, fantasy, sports magazines, newspapers, it’s all reading!
5. Limit screen time. We don’t feed our children a steady dose of cotton candy and expect them to develop healthy bodies. Don’t expect a healthy brain or body if your child spends most of the summer lounging in front of a television, computer or electronic device.
6. Talk, sing, and draw pictures with your child. Just simply talking and singing to your child introduces him or her to more words. Family dinners are important times to share stories and ideas. Make grocery lists together and, with younger children, talk about the number and colors of things you buy. Even though these activities are free they are valuable. Your child will begin school ready to learn new skills instead of needing to catch up on lost skills.
And once summer is over, many schools across the state will be looking for parents and other volunteers to come into classrooms regularly and share the joy of reading with youngsters.
For details on how to get involved, go to readaloudwestvirginia.org or call the nonprofit organization at 304-345-5212.