Is your family like mine, book-obsessed, and loving to read? It didn’t start this way, I assure you. Helping my kids learn to love reading took a lot of work from us parents. This is why I was surprised to learn about National Reading Day. Who knew there is an entire day devoted to the love of reading?
WHAT IS NATIONAL READING DAY?
An annual celebration, National Reading Day encourages a lifelong love of reading in younger children. We celebrate this day on January 23 each year. The holiday focuses on Pre-K to Third Grade students and helps them develop a literary foundation that will last a lifetime.
Across the nation, schools, libraries, nonprofit groups, and parent use a variety of projects to engage young readers. Every year, more and more students join this growing movement as thousands of kids participate in National Reading Day.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF READING?
According to the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC), there are many benefits to reading with young kids. Story time is key to children’s development. But, what does the research say?
The ECLKC says, “Story time is important for brain development, even for babies who do not talk yet. When you read with children, they are connecting the words you say to the pictures on the page and to the things in their world.”
Even before children can speak, hearing language helps their brain development. When we expose children to the rich language of stories, we’re exposing them to language. And, with language, the quantity and quality of words matters.
Language and literacy are closely related skills. Language is how we both use and understand spoken words or signs. Literacy, on the other hand, is our ability to understand written words and symbols to communicate.
Books are a great opportunity to create back-and-forth interactions with older children. Not only does it support word learning, it can boost pre-literacy skills. When we use new and different words, we’re expanding children’s vocabulary. Since books often include words we might not use as parents, it’s important to participate in events like National Reading Day.
WAYS TO READ AT HOME
Not only does reading at home build language and literacy skills, it also encourages thinking skills. As you enjoy story time with the kids in your life, here are some ways to have fun!
- Use sound effects or funny voices. The back-and-forth helps keep kids engaged. These interactions are a proven way to help children learn.
- Read daily. A special time, like at bedtime, is great for creating a routine. Routines help children thrive, even if you’re reading their favorite book for the thousandth time!
- Choose books in your home language, and consider different topics to expose children to new ideas. It’s a great way to introduce new words too!
- Stories can go beyond the page. Talk to kids about the books you’re reading together. This helps build language and thinking skills.
NATIONAL READING DAY RESOURCES
There are many great children’s books out there! If you’re looking for a place to start, National Reading Day has a list of suggested titles to get your started.
Need free books? Don’t worry, you’re covered! There are several ways to tap into resources to get free books for the child in your life.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips for choosing books for younger children.
CONNECTING HUNGER AND EDUCATION
Did you know there’s a connection between hunger and education? Millions of kids, in America and abroad, face challenges related to hunger.
According to the USDA, more than 11 million kids in the United States live in “food insecure” homes. What this means is that these households do not have enough food for everyone in the family to live a healthy life.
With an empty stomach, it’s hard to focus. It’s hard to learn. Hunger hurts a kid’s potential, their health, and their happiness.
In our country, one of the most effective ways to combat hunger is through federal nutrition programs, like free breakfast or lunch.
At Shop LC, your purchase feeds hungry kids. We’re helping kids here in the US and India.
CELEBRATING NATIONAL READING DAY
There are many activities to try when celebrating National Reading Day. It’s the perfect time to get young readers excited while building their reading skills. How will you celebrate? Here are some of our favorites to try!
- Wear Your Favorite Hat. It’s fun to wear a hat that relates to your favorite book. Will it be a crown, a helmet, or a tiara?
- Book exchange. If you’re like my family, you likely have a pile of gently love books. Why not trade some of these much-loved classics with your friends? It’s a great way to share.
- Author marathon. Do you have a favorite author in your house? Prepare a stack of your family’s favorites and have a reading marathon! It’s a fun way to spend time together as a family.
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