Principal

with Chris Briggs-Hale

Want to make an immediate and huge impact on your child’s learning?

Read to your child every day.

Studies across the world indicate that it’s what parents spend their time doing with their child that demonstrates to the child what is important about school. According to Amanda Ripley’s research for The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got There, if you have limited time to help advance your child’s learning, focus on what actually impacts his or her learning. An easy one to start with is: read to your child every day.

There are many other things, such as putting down your cell phone when your children are around, turning off the TV (and ideally, getting rid of it), banishing all video games, but lets start with the “low hanging fruit.” Children learn to love words when they hear great ones spoken. They love it even more when you make the “character voices.”

Reading to your child (not just with), is a bonding experience that demonstrates your appreciation for the written word spoken. It helps them with writing, visualization, and comprehension. It leads to wonderful, rich conversations and a strong sense of connection. Children who are read to a lot are dramatically better readers, writers, and students overall. Ask any teacher. Ask any coach.

So, in addition to all the wonderful things you do for your child, remember, some of the most important things are often simple, quick, and focused. Here is some more “low hanging fruit”:

  1. Read TO them as often as possible. Literacy benefits from being read to.
  2. Talk and wonder about what they are reading with their child. Have fun. Wonder out loud. “I wonder why the character did THAT?!”
  3. Spend time connecting (bonding) each day over dinner or before bed.
  4. Know the names of the other children your child cares for.
  5. Ask “what did you learn today?” and “what do you think about that?” rather than “what is your grade?”

Over the next few months, we’ll try to offer some pearls – some easy stuff you can do to dramatically increase the quality of your children’s learning time with you each day. To start, here’s a relatively easy one:

  • PERSONAL TEN DAY READING CHALLENGE:

Tell your child you will read to him or her EACH DAY for TEN DAYS for ten minutes no matter what. If you are out of town, read to them over the phone. If you have no books, let us know. No excuses, just do it and see what happens. Read something from the newspaper, a magazine, the sports section, or a funny article you found somewhere. But…read to your child for ten minutes, every day for ten days. See what happens. It’s magic.

 

IF YOU ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE, PLEASE EMAIL MR. BRIGGS-HALE SO HE CAN ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENT AND, IF YOU WISH, SHARE YOUR STORY, IN OUR NEXT PARENT BLURB!

Here are a few of Mr. Briggs-Hale’s all time favorite read alouds. The A.A. Milne ones are often free on iBooks or Kindle:

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (the original is wonderful and hilarious for all ages – and it’s MEANT to be read out loud)

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

The BFG by Roald Dahl (actually, pretty much anything by Roald Dahl. Please forgive me for suggesting it’s ok to read about “fizzpopping…”)

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Clearly (try, just try NOT to laugh over the “Danzer Song” incident on the first day of school).

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (a wonderful elementary age tear-jerker. It’s a quick read as well.

Tiffany at the Ute Pass Library is a HUGE wealth of information about other great read alouds. Ask her.

Have fun and, please, share your stories of what reading aloud has done for you and your child!

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