The Power of Literature
There is no question – October is a month of change, transformation and growth. The vibrant colors of the changing leaves light up our morning drive, planting within us a desire to get up and go. As we’re awakened by colder temperatures and blue, sunlit skies, October reminds us that change is natural, and transformation is beautiful. And just like the leaves are changing colors, children are changing too. When it comes to learning, reading is often the catalyst of change, growth and renewal. That’s why we are sharing ideas that show you how to emphasize the importance of reading in October while inspiring your children to grow beyond their imagined potential.
Make Reading a Center-Stage Experience at Home Reading with children often begins as a partnership, a special kind of alone time between parent and child that brings to life the magic of books. But somewhere around first and second grade, children begin to turn pages and read words on their own, with little or no parental involvement. Reading activities move from rocking-chair snuggles to an independent curl-up in a back bedroom or side-by-side page-turning on the sofa in the family room. Independent reading is necessary; and certainly, as homework challenges become even greater throughout the school year, we don’t want to lose the discipline children have mastered relative to independent reading. With October bringing one of the more entertaining American traditions, the days leading up to Halloween are the perfect time to make reading center stage in the home and invite children to read ghost stories aloud so that the whole family can listen and enjoy. Check out this free resource online, www.moonlitroad.com, and download ghost stories in a jiffy! Let your children act these stories out, and invite other families to join in for storytelling fun in the home. You can even incorporate some local history and cultural lessons into this family activity with a selection of stories that highlight the traditions of Halloween in America, such as those at www.americanfolklore.net. There you will find stories for children of all ages, including myths and legends central to American culture. As parents, we can often get as excited about these projects as children, so try not to steal the show from your little ones, and empower them to assign you a role. Doing this will validate your child’s desire to lead while at the same time allowing you to sit back and enjoy your child’s leadership potential.
Experience the Power of Reading Groups Did you know that October is National Book Month and National Reading Group Month? That’s right. National Reading Group Month is an initiative of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). Founded in 1917, WNBA promotes literacy and a love of reading. While its focus brings women together and inspires them to participate in reading groups around the country, the mission can certainly resonate with children and inspire them to read a little more this October. Lead by example and participate in activities that the www.nationalreadinggroupmonth.org recommends. When your child sees you making reading important, he or she will too.
Reading groups can be fun for children too! In fact, reading groups around the country are proving that literature can bring people together and create an environment for children that celebrates learning while encouraging positive peer-to-peer influence. So before the winter months call children, indoors and playtime moves from big groups to one-on-one play dates, take advantage this month and create a reading group. It’s simple, fun and rewarding. Plus, it gives children a chance to interact with other children at different reading levels, challenging them to read above their current level in a warm, friendly environment. So how do you get this fun rolling? It’s simple. Kick off an Evite to some friends in your community, and schedule a meet-up each week with an assigned book. At the reading group, introduce some questions and conversation topics about the book assigned. You will be amazed at how many opinions your children will have about the book they read. For more support, inspiration or book reviews, visit www.kidsreads.com. There you will find a wealth of information and resources to help you plan your child’s reading group as well as a list of questions and approachable guides.
Turn a Love of Literature Into Loving Others It’s true. Children who are raised around books spend more years in school, even if their parents are poor and illiterate. This news flash came from researcher Mariah Evans, who conducted a 20-year study asking adults in 27 countries to estimate the number of books that were in their home while they were growing up. The big take-away from Maria Evans’ research is that when books surround, learning abounds. But not every child has the good fortune of being raised in a home surrounded by literature.
Make a difference in the life of children who are less-privileged. Rally your children to turn their love of literature into a kind act of loving others. Have each member of your family donate used books to a charity committed to growing literacy among both young adults and children in America. This task will not only make you feel good but also will instill in your children the importance of passing on literary treasures to aid the learning process of less-privileged children in school.
Book donations are fairly simple to start. Kick off activities in the home with a bookshelf-cleaning extravaganza. This will get your children thinking about their all-time favorite literary reads as well as those books they didn’t enjoy so much, which they will be or will likely be more apt to part with. Next, organize your book donations according to age and topic, which will make it easier on the charity collecting your books. Finally, check out your local library to learn details about local book charities that promote literacy among young adults and children, and encourage your children to participate in the donation drop-off so they can take ownership of the good they are doing.
From literary roundups to recycling literature for good, celebrating the importance of reading while recognizing the powerful difference it can make in our lives and our learning experiences is the perfect blend of learning and fun.