March is National Reading Month and Huntington Learning Center joins teachers, educators, parents, children and others around the country to observe Read Across America, the annual reading motivation and awareness program created by the National Education Association (NEA).
Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading. This year-round program promotes big events on March 2, but is intended to motivate children and teens to read by offering events, partnerships and reading resources all year long. The Read Across America website provides a list of recommended books, activities, authors and teaching resources that represent an array of experiences and cultures.
“One of our favorite aspects of Read Across America is the focus on making all children feel welcome and included,” says Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center. “Read Across America encourages parents, teachers, educators and others to help children link books to their lives. Reading exposes children to so much: other cultures and ways of life, their place in the world, the impact they can have and much more. We appreciate the effort to promote the message that there is room in every community for all types of readers.”
Huntington reminds parents that strong reading and comprehension skills are essential throughout children’s entire school experience. To persuade children to read, she offers these tips:
Become regulars at the library. The library is the best free resource there is when it comes to exposing your child to literacy and reading. Check out activities and events for your child such as book clubs and summer reading programs.
Read with children from a young age. Help your child learn to associate reading with comfort and joy and think of it as a pleasing activity. Make it fun.
Read in front of your children. Establish a nightly reading habit of your own. Have family reading hour on weekends, where you all curl up on the couch with your books. Bring a book with you to your child’s piano lesson or sports practice and let your child see you enjoying reading in your free time.
Start conversations about reading. Ask your child what book he or she is reading and what’s great about it. What does your child think might happen next? What characters are likeable or deplorable? Listen and be interested any time your child wants to talk about books or reading.
Keep reading material on hand. Put a bookshelf in your child’s room and another in your family room. Give books as gifts and urge your child to build a home library of favorites.
Be flexible on what your child reads. It’s okay if your child experiments with different types of reading material. Literary fiction isn’t the only option—let your child check out that graphic novel or magazine from the library if he or she is so inclined. The key is to encourage your child to read and show him or her discover how entertaining it can be.