Friday, July 29, 2016

Do This To Inspire a Love of Reading in Your Kids!

As part of the continuing “Wise Parents, Wise Kids” Summer Series, I enjoyed learning about the many new ways families can plug into today's public libraries.  My guest Rachael Barrera, Children’s Librarian at the Brook Hollow Public Library in San Antonio, Texas and a fellow parent.

I've got to tell you, the video conversation is really fun and inspirational!  You can see that by going here:

If you'd rather read, here are some highlights:

Fine-Tuned Families: What are some things a family can do at the library these days?

Response:  The library offers a number of programs for children of all ages and their families.  Play and Learn programs are for children 5 and under to interact with their caregiver. We have five early literacy practices: Reading, Talking, Singing, Writing, and Playing.  Little Read Wagon, our Early Literacy Team, offers these programs around the city all year long.  Story Times for Preschoolers, Baby Time, and Toddler Time suit every age of early childhood and support development.  Tween Time in libraries support the child who is 9-12 years, a group that often gets overlooked in libraries.  Kids Time also supports the learning and literacy of school age children. Discovery Time encourages learning early math and science skills. Summer Reading Programs encourage the love of independent reading at home.

FTF:  How can these great offerings help parents foster a love of reading in their kids?

Response:  Libraries of today create a joyful connection between the child, reading and learning.  Examples are neat art projects, group reading programs, individual reading challenges, and family activities.  Whatever brings joy to that particular child helps him or her love reading and learning.

FTF:  What are some of your best tips for parents of different-aged readers?

Response:  WORD!  The more words your child hears before kindergarten the greater his future academic success. Let your child pick the books he or she wants to read. Don’t get hung up on “reading level” (unless working toward closing an educational gap.)  When a child likes the stuff she reads, the more she will read, the more she comprehends what she reads, the easier it becomes to read, and so on. Don’t give up picture books too soon, they actually help a child’s comprehension like chapter books can’t. That firm foundation will help in years to come. For older tweens and teens, access to a free, vast supply of books is a gift and inspires more “book time” and less “screen time”.

Resources: – The main website for the San Antonio Public Library system. - The Brook Hollow Library’s location and phone numbers.   - A great example of one of many online sources to encourage a love of reading in our kids.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

AMP Up Your Summer Fun and Learning!

Our Wise Parents, Wise Kids series is all about getting more out of the summer.  Last week, we had an idea-filled conversation with Dottie Miller, Teacher and Mom, and Angela Woodrow, Parent Advocate and Mom.  We discussed ways to easily and enjoyably turn our kids “Brain Drain” into “Brain Gain”.  We shared a lot of great ideas, so listen in on the recording:
The good thing about summer is that it is a break from the regular ‘grind’. The tricky part is to create a structure for the family that allows for relaxing and easy organizing of fun and engaging activities.

Here are my thoughts for inviting the whole family to get the most out of summer:

Grab a cool snack and call a family brainstorming meeting. Invite each person to share an idea or two he or she would still like to do in the days ahead . Discuss and jot down the best ideas and post them somewhere visible. As you do each one, be sure to check them off and see what else remains.
Towards the end of that meeting, you might also mention a few things you'd love to get done. The kids have probably outgrown clothes and may be ready to let go of some toys. Purging and reorganizing those items will get their rooms in better shape. Are there other projects inside the house or out in the yard you'd like to do?
Kids like to have a say in planning family fun. They appreciate having everyone listen to their ideas. Kids also like to know what family projects are coming up. Having a few days notice gives any "reluctant" helpers time to adjust to the idea of contributing. 

Watch for more great ways to engage your kids and enjoy your summer in upcoming Wise Parents, Wise Kids conversations, including:
- A great summer resource that is free and fun: today's public library 
- "Yes" Day!  How one MOPS Mentor makes a summer day fun full of adventure 
- Geocaching-- a great way to explore your area on foot and introduce and refine your seek and search skills...what kid doesn't want to be on a treasure hunt? NOTE: this version is not POKEMON.

Share with me your thoughts and ideas for a great summer by tweeting +Janet Bonnin