How to Reinforce Your Child’s Learning

In addition to doing homework, your children should spend time reading not only with you, but also on their own. If a child finds pleasure in reading, it will be­come a lifelong habit.

Let Your Children See You Reading
If your children see you reading regularly, there is a good chance that they will follow your lead and sit down with a book themselves. Set aside some time to talk with them about what each of you is reading. If you have been regularly reading aloud to your children, by school age they’ll probably want to read aloud to you, too!

Talk About Your Day
Find time to talk with your children about your respective days—in­cluding what they did at school. Even on a night when you are particularly busy, you should still be able to find a time and place to talk. This gives your children a chance to re-teach you what they learned that day.

Encourage Art & Writing
It is great for children to write and/or draw without any ed­ucational purpose in mind other than to express themselves. For example, you can encourage your children to write original stories, cards, letters, and invitations to friends and relatives. Keep paper, pencils, crayons, markers, and tape in a convenient lo­cation so your children can sit down and use them easily. Research has shown that writing improves a child’s reading skills—and vice versa.

Plan One-on-One Time
Plan some activities that you can do with your child—such as an art project. Keep phone call interruptions and media use to a minimum during this special time. Make it a time you are spending with each other. Some children say they wish they could call their parents on the phone, because a phone call or mobile device always gets first priority. See Parents of Young Children: Put Down Your Smartphones.

Use Caution with “Educational” Apps
Even though tablets, computer games, and apps are advertised as “educational,” the truth is most of them have not been tested to show that children actually learn from them. They teach very basic skills, so don’t assume an “interactive” game will be a good learning experience. Children learn better through creative playtime—where their brain takes the lead, not the app or computer game.

More Suggestions for Parents

  • Put a map on the wall in your child’s bedroom and refer to it frequently. You might ask, “Where does Aunt Linda live?” or “Can you find the city where the President lives?” You can also use the map to talk about history, especially around a historical holiday.
  • Have a family calendar where you can teach your child to plan ahead and stay organized.
  • Take your children to your local library and get each of them a library card. Because they use the school li­brary frequently, most children almost instinctively feel at home when they go to the local library.
  • Find community activities that are pure fun. Despite their recre­ational nature, these activities can still be viewed as providing support for what is being taught in school. They will broaden your children’s experiences and give them something new to write about.
  • Try reinforcing your child’s health education at school by making healthy food choices when you shop. No mat­ter what is taught in the classroom and served in the school cafeteria, your children will be influenced more by watching your own food selections. Actively involving your children in the cooking process—reading recipes and measuring ingredients—can reinforce nutrition education.
  • Schedule some weekend or after-school activities that are appropriate for the entire family. Swimming, tennis, bicycle riding, and skiing are some of the sports that children can participate in for their entire lives—long after they have left school. Do not overlook walking as a perfect way for the family to enjoy physical activity together. Studies now show that the more children exercise, the better they focus!

Source: Council on Communications and Media (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

National Family Literacy Month

Did you know the single greatest indicator of children’s success is the literacy level of their parents? Did you know that parental involvement in their child’s reading has been found to be the most important determinant of language and emergent literacy?

November 1st kicks off National Literacy Month. First designated in 1994, the event is meant to bring awareness to the importance of family literacy through the encouragement and education of both parents of and caregivers for children, and focuses on the powerful lifelong learning ripple effect they can ignite simply by participating in their children’s literacy practices.

Here is what research has demonstrated regarding that ripple effect:

  • Success in reading is a gateway to success in other academic areas.
  • The earlier parents get involved in a child’s literacy the better, and the longer lasting the effects. Parental literacy involvement continues to be a top predictor of achievement into the teen and adult years.
  • A day focused on literacy can promote literacy across an entire community.

Here are some innovative ideas for celebrating National Literacy Month:

  1. Get Older Siblings Reading to Their Younger Siblings. It’s great practice for big bro or big sis to explain big words or summarize the story, and it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate a love of reading to little bro or sis.
  2. Practice Reading “Popcorn” Style. Each family member can read a page or two and then “popcorn pass” to the family member of their choice.
  3. Take Turns choosing the book or the book reading location of the night.
  4. Plan Themed Reading Nights. Pitch a tent in the living room and “camp out” while you read, or build a “bear cave” fort and read books about bears. Let your imagination take your themes to the next level.
  5. Incorporate Fun Accessories. Make your own bookmarks or sand timers. Invest in kid-friendly reading lights.
  6. Involve Distant Family and Friends. Books can be read aloud over FaceTime or Skype. Record your child reading their favorite book and send the video to loved ones.
  7. Read and Watch. Choose a book that has been turned into a movie. Read the book first and then schedule a family movie night to see the book come to life on the screen.
  8. Schedule It. Reading should be an activity as important as our kids’ various practices, lessons and play dates. If it’s on the calendar, it will become a higher priority.
  9. Book Swap. Get other families involved in a periodic book swap where kids can lend and borrow books from friends in the neighborhood or other social circles.
  10. Dinner Talk. Books can be a topic of discussion at family dinner. Ask family members to share about the latest books they’ve enjoyed, or how the plot is twisting in their latest chapter book.

From “20 Ways to Celebrate National Family Literacy Day,” by Jessica Slusser. For more information, visit the Getting Smarter website.

Summer Reading Programs for All Ages

LOCAL LIBRARIES’ SUMMER READING PROGRAMS

Branford
Blackstone Memorial Library
A Universe of Stories

Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library
A Universe of Stories

Cheshire
Cheshire Public Library
Summer Adventure

East Haven
Hagman Memorial Library

Hamden
Hamden Public Library
A Universe of Stories

New Haven
New Haven Free Public Library
A Universe of Stories

North Haven
North Haven Memorial Library
“Laugh Out Loud Library!”

Wallingford
Wallingford Public Library
Summer Reading

A Guide to Reading With Your Child

Start talking, singing, and reading with your child from the beginning. He will learn that reading is a fun activity you share together.

  • Point to words as you read them, showing your child that the print carries the story.
  • Ask your child to name things she sees in the pictures. Talk about how the pictures relate to the story.
  • Reading doesn’t have to be a huge project. Even a 3 minute story every night before bedtime will help your child learn.

Discuss Healthy Active Living using The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

  • Teach your child that apples, pears, plums, strawberries, and oranges are all fruits. Ask him if he can name other fruits.
  • Talk to her about how fruits are good for the body.
  • Talk about how when the caterpillar overeats, he gets a stomachache— so it is important to stop eating when you feel full.
  • Talk about how some foods are “sometimes” foods—like cake and ice cream—and how it is not a good idea to eat them all the time.
  • After reading the page where the caterpillar eats the green leaf and feels better, talk to your child about how you too eat green leaves (lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc.) and how it is good for your body.
  • Teach your child that is important to eat healthy foods, so he can grow up healthy and active like a butterfly.

Download a printable guide that contains healthy eating tips and a reader’s guide to using The Very Hungry Caterpillar to encourage conversations about healthy eating. Print it out and share it with family and friends.


The information contained on this web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Helping Your Child Learn to Read

How can I help my child learn to read?

Reading books aloud is one of the best ways you can help your child learn to read. This can be fun for you, too. The more excitement you show when you read a book, the more your child will enjoy it. The most important thing to remember is to let your child set her own pace and have fun at whatever she is doing. Do the following when reading to your child:

  • Run your finger under the words as you read to show your child that the print carries the story.
  • Use funny voices and animal noises. Do not be afraid to ham it up! This will help your child get excited about the story.
  • Stop to look at the pictures; ask your child to name things she sees in the pictures. Talk about how the pictures relate to the story.
  • Invite your child to join in whenever there is a repeated phrase in the text.
    Show your child how events in the book are similar to events in your child’s life.
  • If your child asks a question, stop and answer it. The book may help your child express her thoughts and solve her own problems.
  • Keep reading to your child even after she learns to read. A child can listen and understand more difficult stories than she can read on her own.

Listening to your child read aloud

Once your child begins to read, have him read out loud. This can help build your child’s confidence in his ability to read and help him enjoy learning new skills. Take turns reading with your child to model more advanced reading skills.

If your child asks for help with a word, give it right away so that he does not lose the meaning of the story. Do not force your child to sound out the word. On the other hand, if your child wants to sound out a word, do not stop him.

If your child substitutes one word for another while reading, see if it makes sense. If your child uses the word “dog” instead of “pup,” for example, the meaning is the same. Do not stop the reading to correct him. If your child uses a word that makes no sense (such as “road” for “read”), ask him to read the sentence again because you are not sure you understand what has just been read. Recognize your child’s energy limits. Stop each session at or before the earliest signs of fatigue or frustration.

Most of all, make sure you give your child lots of praise! You are your child’s first, and most important, teacher. The praise and support you give your child as he learns to read will help him enjoy reading and learning even more.
Learning to read in school

Most children learn to read by 6 or 7 years of age. Some children learn at 4 or 5 years of age. Even if a child has a head start, she may not stay ahead once school starts. The other students most likely will catch up during the second or third grade. Pushing your child to read before she is ready can get in the way of your child’s interest in learning. Children who really enjoy learning are more likely to do well in school. This love of learning cannot be forced.

As your child begins elementary school, she will begin her formal reading education. There are many ways to teach children to read. One way emphasizes word recognition and teaches children to understand a whole word’s meaning by how it is used. Learning which sounds the letters represent—phonics—is another way children learn to read. Phonics is used to help “decode” or sound out words. Focusing on the connections between the spoken and written word is another technique. Most teachers use a combination of methods to teach children how to read.

Reading is an important skill for children to learn. Most children learn to read without any major problems. Pushing a child to learn before she is ready can make learning to read frustrating. But reading together and playing games with books make reading fun. Parents need to be involved in their child’s learning. Encouraging a child’s love of learning will go a long way to ensuring success in school.

Reading tips

The following are a few tips to keep in mind as your child learns to read:

  • Set aside time every day to read together. Many children like to have stories read to them at bedtime. This is a great way to wind down after a busy day and get ready for sleep.
  • Leave books in your child’s room for her to enjoy on her own. Make sure her room is reading-friendly with a comfortable bed or chair, bookshelf, and reading lamp.
  • Read books that your child enjoys. After a while, your child may learn the words to her favorite book. When this happens, let your child complete the sentences or take turns reciting the words.
  • Do not drill your child on letters, numbers, colors, shapes, or words. Instead, make a game out of it and find ways to encourage your child’s curiosity and interests.

Source: Helping Your Child Learn to Read (Copyright © 1999 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Notable Children’s Books, Just in Time for the Holidays

Every year, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best in children’s books. The list is generated based on certain criteria—worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding—and includes “books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways,” according to the ALSC website. Additionally, Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children’s Books list.

Just in time for your gift-giving consideration, here is a list of the 2017 Notable Children’s Books. For more information about these book, click here.


YOUNGER READERS
Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer, Diane Stanley
Ada Twist, Scientist, Andrea Beaty
Before Morning, Joyce Sidman
Best Frints in the Whole Universe, Antoinette Portis
Counting, Fleur Star
Coyote Moon, Maria Gianferrari
Fabulous Frogs, Martin Jenkins
Go, Otto, Go! , David Milgrim
Good Night Owl,
Greg Pizzoli
The Great Pet Escape,
Victoria Jamieson
Horrible Bear!
Ame Dyckman
A Hungry Lion; or, A Dwindling Assortment of Animals,
Lucy Ruth Cummins
The Infamous Ratsos,
Kara LaReau
Leave Me Alone!
Vera Brosgol
The Night Gardener,
Terry Fan
Old Dog Baby Baby,
Julie Fogliano
Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper,
Mike Twohy
Over the Ocean,
Taro Gomi
A Piece of Home,
Jeri Watts
Puddle,
Hyewon Yum
Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas,
Yuyi Morales
School’s First Day of School,
Adam Rex
Thunder Boy Jr,
Sherman Alexie
We Found a Hat,
Jon Klassen
Weekends with Max and His Dad,
Linda Urban
When Andy Met Sandy,
Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis
Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?
Kate DiCamillo


MIDDLE READERS
Grades 3-5, ages 8-10

The Best Man, Richard Peck
Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep, Abby Hanlon
Full of Beans, Jennifer L. Holm
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled, Lynne Rae Perkins
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill
I Am Not a Number, Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, Debbie Levy
Juana & Lucas, Juana Medina
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, John David Anderson
Pax, Sara Pennypacker
A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day, Andrea Davis Pinkney
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis, Jabari Asim
The Princess and the Warrior, Duncan Tonatiuh
Raymie Nightingale, Kate DiCamillo
The Secret Keepers, Trenton Lee Stewart.
The Sound of Silence, Katrina Goldsaito
Steamboat School, Deborah Hopkinson
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness, Donna Janell Bowman
The Storyteller, Evan Turk
The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk, Jan Thornhill
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, Matthew Olshan
Wet Cement, Bob Raczka
When Mischief Came to Town, Katrina Nannestad
When the Sea Turned to Silver, Grace Lin
The Wild Robot, Peter Brown


OLDER READERS
Grades 6-8, ages 11-14

As Brave As You, Jason Reynolds
The Ballad of a Broken Nose, Arne Svingen. Tr, Kari Dickson
The Bitter Side of Sweet, Tara Sullivan. Putnam.
Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace
Booked, Kwame Alexander
Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice, Susan Goldman Rubin
Cloud and Wallfish, Anne Nesbet
Cry, Heart, but Never Break, Glenn Ringtved
Garvey’s Choice, Nikki Grimes
Ghost, Jason Reynolds
In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, Kenneth C. Davis
The Inquisitor’s Tale; or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, Adam Gidwitz
The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, Cathy Camper
March: Book Three, John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
The Only Road, Alexandra Diaz
Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West, Candace Fleming
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, Caren Stelson
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune, Pamela S. Turner
To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party, Skila Brown
Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II, Albert Marrin
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler, Russell Freedman
What Elephants Know, Eric Dinerstein
Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk
The Wolf’s Boy, Susan Williams Beckhorn
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, Carole Boston Weatherford


ALL AGES
Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics, Steve Jenkins
As Time Went By, Jose Sanabria
Daniel Finds a Poem, Micha Archer
Du Iz Tak? Carson Ellis
Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist,
Susan Wood
Freedom in Congo Square,
Carole Boston Weatherford
Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,
Ashley Bryan
Giant Squid,
Candace Fleming
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph,
Roxane Orgill
The Journey,
Francesca Sanna
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood,
F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest,
Lulu Delacre
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,
Javaka Steptoe
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White,
Melissa Sweet
Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds,
Jorge Argueta
They All Saw a Cat,
Brendan Wenzel
The Water Princess,
Susan Verde and Georgie Badiel
When Green Becomes Tomatoes,
Julie Fogliano