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Five easy ways to inspire children to read

March 3 is Read Across America Day

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 11:00 a.m. CST

PERU – In the month of March, Sylvan Learning locations across the country, including Sylvan Learning located in Peru, will join the nation's parents, children and educators to observe the largest annual celebration of reading in the nation.

In celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the National Educational Association (NEA) hosts Read Across America Day (http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm) on March 3. The annualobservance serves as a yearly opportunity for families to put reading front and center in a child's life. It's a day when parents can help children discover how reading can transport them to places of fun, adventure and learning just as surely as TV, Internet or video games.

“Children whose primary exposure to reading occurs at school rather than at home may associate reading with work rather than pleasure," said Daniel Callahan of Sylvan Learning located in Peru. "Read Across America Day provides an ideal chance for parents to introduce reading as the enjoyable, entertaining activity that it can be. And of course, numerous studies have shown that the more reading a child does at home, the more it enhances that child's performance at school."

However, reading is more than a one-day event. That's why Callahan is offering these five simple tips to help families ensure their children establish a lifelong relationship with the written word.

• Be a role model. Seeing is believing. Letting your child see you read on a regular basis is far more effective in conveying the importance of reading than telling them to do so. Be prepared to discuss what you are reading, and encourage children to ask questions about it.

• If you want them to read, read to them. Schedule a regular story time when you can sit quietly with your child, enjoy a book together and establish a direct parent-to-child reading connection.

• Turn the tables. Sharing reading with your child should be a two-way experience. Help your child choose an age-appropriate book and have them read aloud to you as well. Help them through any challenging words. Ramp up the reading level gradually to keep the process interesting and challenging.

• Give them a window into your own childhood. The true children's classics last forever. Tell them about your favorite books when you were their age and make those books available for them to explore. Read them again together, then discuss the stories and compare your favorite parts.

• Change screen time to reading time. Prioritize reading as a free-time activity on a tablet instead of playing a video game or watching TV. Download an audio book or a series of e-books for your child’s leisure reading.

"While these tips can be helpful, the real key is to apply them with consistency," said Callahan. "Reinforcing reading as a lifelong activity also means reinforcing its importance — even as a fun activity — on a daily basis. And taking the 'work' out of reading is one of the most important steps in furthering a child's academic success."

For additional tips and resources, contact Daniel Callahan of Sylvan Learning located in Peru at (815) 223-3378, sylvanperu@aol.com, or http://tutoring.sylvanlearning.com/centers/61354.

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