July 20th, 2011
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495427_mother_reading_a_book_to_kidsOne of the best things about summer is the extra time that it allows for reading. My family has always been avid readers and continues the tradition of sitting down on those long hot afternoons and enjoying a good book. There is nothing more rewarding to this mother than seeing the desire on my children’s face for a good book.

At the summer reading program last week, I met up with a fellow foster care mother. She and I were talking about the importance of reading for a child and how difficult it was to figure out how to make reading enjoyable for the children who come ‘through’ her home. She believes (as I do) that in order to be successful, each child must be able to read well, write well and be able to articulate. Her heart is to ensure that all of the children in her home desire to do this.

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This is not an easy task. Many children have learned that reading is difficult and not necessarily fun. As heart-breaking as this is, there are many things that a parent or foster parent can do that will influence the child. One of the easiest is to find out what the child it interested in- probably a magazine since they tend to be easier to read and offer more pictures. I would buy these or borrow from the library instead of waiting for a subscription to start unless you know that you will have the child for a long time. Another suggestion is to have a reading basket. In it can be the magazines, different books, even encyclopedias. This basket should only be pulled out for the designated reading time then put away until the next reading day. This will allow for anticipation to grow.

Reading to a child is always fun and engaging. If the child cannot sit and listen- allow them to play or color during the book. Find books that are simple enough for them to understand, short enough that they know it will end but challenging enough that they aren’t bored. Sound impossible? It is really not difficult. There are many books available.

Plug the children into activities at the public library. By making the library fun, the children will desire to go to. This will open the world of books and imagination for the children. The library offers many summer activities that are fun and engaging. Rewards are often given for finishing the reading program. Finding the right library or library program can offer a child hours of fun and learning. The result is often an increased desire to read and learn.

~Angie
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