Reading can unlock the keys to a world of information.  Parents are teachers, both by example and by conversation.  Give children opportunities to play, to talk and to hear you talk to them.  Listen to what they have to say and answer their questions.  Read aloud to your child every day.  These are fun activities that you can do with your child to encourage him or her to read and to reinforce the importance of school.

ABC Book. Compile plain white or colorful paper.  Write one upper and lower case letter (A,a) onto each page. Have your child go through old newspapers or magazines and match each letter to a picture in the magazine.  Cut out and glue each object onto a page. Compile and transform these pages into a memorable book.

Alphabet Hunt. Make a list of all the letters in the alphabet.  Have your child identify household items that start with as many of the letters as possible.

Cartoons. Cut cartoon strips apart frame by frame.  Have your child put them back in order and read the completed cartoon.

Concentration Games. Create a game using coupons. Children would need to match two similar products. The brand names of these products may differ, if you wish.

Create Stories.  Makeup stories with your child.  Alternate between parent and child in adding lines to the story.

Predict the Story Outcome.  Flip through a picture storybook with your child and have him or her predict the story outcome from the pictures.  Then go back and read the story to your child.

Newspaper Scavenger Hunt.  Go through a newspaper and make a list of 10-15 items to find in the paper (i.e.-cartoons, sports statistics, a story about your city, weather data, picture of a government official, car ad, etc.)

Recipes. Pick out simple recipes and help your child make the recipes.  Children should read the directions.  This reinforces the need for math and reading skills.

Repetition. Have your child tell the story to you after you have read it to him or her.

Safety Walk.  Take your child on a walk around the neighborhood or to a park. Point out signs and read what is on the signs (i.e.- house numbers, stop signs, street names, business names.)  Have your child name pieces of safety equipment used in sports or play. Explain the safety need of each object.

These are just a few ways to reinforce the concept that reading is tied to all aspects of daily life. This sends the message that reading is important, impacts all areas of life and is not merely a school-based activity.

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