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President's Club - Usborne Books & More

Ruth Smith, Director
President's Club & Ambassador
Supervisor of the Year '08-'09
President's Award Winner '05
19 years w/ Usborne Books & More


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Here are some ideas for encouraging the development of basic reading skills, while building a general awareness of written and spoken language in everyday situations. 

bullet Messages - Put short simple messages on the refrigerator door for your child to read, such as "look under the table".   Leave a small "prize" for the child to find.  This can later be developed into a Treasure Hunt.
bullet Picture Poster - Make your own picture poster together for your child's room.  Draw them or use pictures cut from a magazine.   It could say:  "This is Robert's room.  In it there is a (picture of a bed) and some (pictures of cars).  I have a big (picture of a ball) and a (picture of a horse)... and so on.
bullet Short Story - Make up your own short story about a dog chasing a cat.  Plan the story together.  You could begin by asking such questions as "Where is the cat?" and "What is she doing?".   This could be a simple 3 sentence (or picture) sequence, or a more elaborate story.
bullet Letter Scrapbook - Make a collage of words beginning with a particular letter.  Buy or make a scrapbook.  A photo album with self-adhesive peel-back pages is ideal for this purpose.  Write or stick a capital letter and its small letter at the top of a page and collect pictures that go on that page. You can build this into the whole alphabet scrapbook eventually. 
bullet Alphabet Wall Hanging - Take a long roll of paper or a piece of wallpaper.  Draw large letters for the child to decorate (w/ crayons, paint, glitter, etc.).  Glue an envelope under each letter.  You can cut out letters from magazines and glue them onto the envelopes.  Draw or collect pictures from catalogs & magazines to put into the envelopes.  A picture of a cat is put into the "c" envelope and so on.
Free Reading Activities
The Starfall learn-to-read Web site has lots of fun activities for readers at all levels. Activities include interactive comics, folktales, plays, and much more.
Visit www.starfall.com.

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  1. Choose a time when you can be relaxed and give your undivided attention.  Show your enjoyment.
  2. Choose books that interest your child.
  3. Give plenty of praise.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Keep sessions short and stop before your child gets bored.
  6. Encourage your child to concentrate on the meaning of what she/he is reading.  Ask questions like "What do you think will happen next?"
  7. Build confidence at every opportunity.   Learning to read is dependent on a child's belief that she/he can do it.

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Recommended Books:

book2.gif (1625 bytes) Amery,Heather and Cartwright,Stephen. 1987. First 100 Words. London, England: Usborne Publishing Ltd.

book2.gif (1625 bytes)Phonics series and Farmyard Tales series. London, England: Usborne Publishing Ltd.

book2.gif (1625 bytes) Gibson,Ray. 1993. Reading Games - You and Your Child. London, England: Usborne Publishing Ltd.

book2.gif (1625 bytes) Root,Betty. 1988. Help Your Child Learn To Read. London, England: Usborne Publishing Ltd.

Click here to order these & other great books.

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Read aloud together with your child every day. Make it fun by reading outdoors on the front steps, patio, at the beach or park. Also, let your children read to you. For younger children, point out the relationship between words and sounds.

Set a good example! Parents must be willing to model behavior for their children. Keep lots of reading material around the house. Turn off the TV and have each person read his or her book, including mom and dad.

Read the same book your child is reading and discuss it. This is the way to develop habits of the mind and build capacity for thought and insight.

Let kids choose what they want to read, and don't turn your nose up at popular fiction. It will only discourage the reading habit.

Buy books on tape, especially for a child with a learning disability. Listen to them in the car, or turn off the TV and have the family listen to them together.

Take your children to the library regularly. Most libraries sponsor summer reading clubs with easy-to-reach goals for preschool and school-age children. Check the library calendar for special summer reading activities and events. Libraries also provide age appropriate lists for summer reading.

Subscribe, in your child's name, to magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, or National Geographic World. Encourage older children to read the newspaper and current events magazines, to keep up the reading habit over the summer and develop vocabulary. Ask them what they think about what they've read, and listen to what they say.

Ease disappointment over summer separation from a favorite school friend by encouraging them to become pen pals. Present both children with postcards or envelopes that are already addressed and stamped. If both children have access to the Internet, email is another option.

Make trips a way to encourage reading by reading aloud traffic signs, billboards, notices. Show your children how to read a map, and once you are on the road, let them take turns being the navigator.

Encourage children to keep a summer scrapbook. Tape in souvenirs of your family's summer activities picture postcards, ticket stubs, photos. Have your children write the captions and read them aloud as you look at the book together.

Printable flyer: Tips to Encourage Reading   

What's So Special About Usborne Books?! 


Ellynne Skove, a movement and music specialist who works with preschool and elementary school children in Brooklyn, New York, says, "I work with children on musical concepts more than just singing: rhythm, beat, group cohesion, movement.

Every preschool teacher knows that singing can organize a chaotic roomful of children. "Children have very basic, underdeveloped organizational abilities," says Skove. "They don't have boundaries as we know them. Music organizes time into small chunks through rhythm and beat, and it develops the ability to anticipate. That's why so many teachers use music as a transitional tool--and why there are so many clean-up songs, hello songs and end-of-day songs."

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  1998-2013  Ruth McLain Smith, Director and Independent Educational Consultant with Usborne Books and More, RS4books@aol.com  888-565-5828
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