Tag Archive for reading

The Importance of Reading to Kids

Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do for their development. It has so many benefits for children. The more you read and the earlier you start, the better for children’s learning.

children reading, the key to learning

Sometimes it’s hard as a daycare provider or a parent to find the time to read to your children every day. It’s super important to MAKE that time. Your children will be better off for it and in turn our future will be as well. Click here to check out my favorite children’s books. 

preschool lesson plans, reading with kids

Spending time reading with your child creates bonding with them.

Do you have a favorite reading memory as a child? Mine is when my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Nelson would read to us at circle reading time every day. She read us the Ralph books and the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Recently, she celebrated her 100th birthday. Click here to see more about it. Bonding through reading helps kids to learn to build healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are the foundation for success. It also helps them learn and understand interactions with others. This even further helps with building healthy relationships. It helps improve social skills which are the foundation to school success.

Reading to your child helps their brain develop.

There are pathways in your brain that are formed through experiences upon which future learning follows. If those pathways aren’t built, future information cannot travel on them. Reading helps build these pathways. The more you read to your child, the more pathways are built. The earlier you begin, the more pathways are built. Children learn 50% of what they will learn in their entire lifetime by the age of 3, these are critical times to build on. Reading is a great way to build them. Cognitive skills are greatly improved by reading.

Reading helps children develop creativity.

Books take people on adventures to faraway lands. They teach life lessons. Reading helps us imagine or even travel through time. Reading to your kids early will give them amazing ways of looking at things. It will help them develop a sense of wonder.

Reading books to kids helps them develop literacy skills and language.

Children who are read to have higher vocabularies and develop earlier speech than they would if not read to. Vocabulary is linked to IQ and other types of intelligence.

Reading opens the door to a promising future.

The lack of strong reading skills gives kids many challenges in life. Studies show children who aren’t reading at grade level by third grade have a higher rate of continued struggle with reading as adults, are more likely to drop out of school in later grades, face unemployment and even jail later on.

The root of many problems for people who fail to succeed is social issues. Many of them are rooted in lack of education. Reading can stimulate a child’s readiness for education. Literacy boosts economics, keeps families together, and reduces poverty. Reading is even shown to help reduce gender inequality for women in the work place.

All further learning is affected by a child’s ability to read. Reading to children can stimulate the desire to read, the understanding that words have meaning, and the comprehension of what is being read and how to read themselves.


Reading helps with language skills and helps children communicate.

It is vital for success in school and college. It also is vital for success in the work place.

Reading is fundamental to so many other forms of learning. It’s necessary to cook a recipe, read a prescription label, operate equipment and so many other things that are vital for life. It’s the basis of everything else around us. Click here to read more about the importance of reading. 

Grab a book and put a child in your lap for a story today. You will be making a huge investment in the future.

Click on any of these images to get some wonderful books for your kids.  

Don’t forget to pin for later.


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5 Beverly Cleary Books for Kids

You are not going to BELIEVE what I found out last week about Beverly Cleary? That’s right, TODAY is her 100th birthday! Oh my gosh, I’m so excited, I can hardly contain myself. April 12, 2016 one of my favorite authors is 100 years old. What a gift she gave the world. She is a big part of my growing up and I love her stories so much.

In Cleary’s books, Ramona’s teacher tells the class to Drop Everything and Read! On Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday, we are calling for just that, so stop what you’re doing and get to reading my friends. It’s good for your mind and soul.

In elementary school, I had several teachers that read Cleary’s books to me in class. I remember sitting in a circle on a rug on the floor in Mrs. Nelson’s third grade classroom while she read to us every day. It was pure heaven. She read us several Beverly Cleary classics. I loved the characters in these books so much!

mia reading ramona forever by Beverly Cleary

The first book she read to us was “Ramona the Pest”. Ramona was an ornery girl who got herself in trouble quite a lot. I could relate. In a recent interview I watched with Cleary, she said Ramona never meant to be naughty, she just didn’t understand things sometimes and she was learning. I love that, because I know as a child, I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have for lack of understanding the consequences. Cleary wrote many books about Ramona and her friends and family. She based them on things that she experienced in her life.  

Another of Cleary’s beloved books we read in school was “Ramona and Beezus”. Beezus was what Ramona called her sister and I loved the relationship they had as I was an annoying little sister just like Ramona. I could relate to her character. She was misunderstood. She was seen as a bother a lot of the time. I love Beverly Cleary’s ability to make you feel like Ramona felt and how she made her character so relatable.

Mrs. Nelson left many indelible marks on my heart and mind. Choosing what to read to our class so deftly was one of her many many gifts. Mrs. Nelson, I hope you know I still don’t like wadding paper and throwing it in the trash because you were right! More paper fits in the trash bin when you lay it flat. I don’t get the whole, can I go to the bathroom? I don’t know, can you? Thing though. I know it’s proper grammar you were after, but I still just needed to potty.

“Henry Huggins” was a Cleary book I read later. It was actually her first. Published nearly 60 years ago. It was about a boy who was always bored and thought nothing exciting could ever happen to him. He found a stray dog and rescued it by hiding it from the bus driver in a bag. I could feel the tension Henry felt as he worried he would get caught with the dog by the bus driver. I also felt his heart for the dog and how he helped save the dog who was obviously alone and starving.

Another great series from Cleary that Mrs. Nelson read to the class was Ralph the Mouse. Ralph was a little mouse who lived in a hotel with his very annoying (so he thought) family. His parents were way too overprotective, and Ralph longed for adventure. A boy came to the hotel with his family and gave Ralph a little motorcycle and boy did he have a time. In the book, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”, Cleary tells about how Ralph acquired the motorcycle and his adventures at the hotel. The sequel, “Runaway Mouse” tells how Ralph longed for adventure and took to the open road on the motorcycle and then what happened when he really got out into the world.

Mrs. Nelson had us write a letter to our favorite author. Of course I chose Cleary and my little girl heart exploded when she actually wrote me back. Here is this amazing famous author and she took the time to write back to a pesky annoying kid like me? I could not even believe it. I wrote her about how I loved her writing and how she inspired me to want to be an author when I grew up. I had many teachers encourage me to write in my younger years. I had a gift.

I lost my dream of writing over the years when it was belittled and tossed aside as a gift, but now in my 40’s, I have finally picked it back up again and man am I ever having fun! I wish I had never stopped. I love the way writing makes me feel and there is so much inside of me that is pouring out now. I hope it can impact people in a positive way as Cleary’s has. I would LOVE to write children’s books for preschool age. It’s a dream I will be pursuing.

Anyway, back to my letter from Beverly Cleary. It was a short, hand written note that simply said, thank you for reading my books, follow your dream. I knew from that day on that writing was going to be my gig! It has a purpose. Even in a few words scratched on a flyer for fans in the 70’s, she found a way to impact me forever. I will never forget.

beverly cleary's 100th birthday

Last week when I found out it was her birthday, I got her a birthday card and looked up where to send fan mail and wrote her a birthday note. She is such a special lady. I hope she enjoys a ton of birthday mail and I hope she celebrates in a big way. Her life is simple and quiet now as you can imagine at the age of 100. She is blessed to be healthy and I’m so very glad for her. I wish her many more healthy, happy birthdays. (and I hope she writes me back)

happy 100th birthday beverly cleary

I love books and reading and I love sharing that with my kids. I hope to instill a life long love of learning in each and every one of them. 

children reading, the key to learning

Here is an interview about her birthday. I hope you enjoy it. I love how she said about turning 100, I didn’t do it on purpose. Still witty and silly, as she always was in her writing. She inspired so many people with her writing and her way of being. Many other legendary authors were spurred on by her work. I hope someone can say that about me someday.

Today show interview with Beverly Cleary, click here.

Cleary’s books were written for children ages 8-12 and are beloved by millions of readers. Be sure to check out any of Cleary’s works. I’m going to order her biography immediately and read it in celebration of her centennial life and her beautiful gift to my life and to this world! She was a school librarian and she said she wrote the books because kids in the library couldn’t find any books about kids like them. I love that, she saw a need and filled it. That’s what more of us should strive to be like!


9 Ways to Encourage Language Skills in Your Kids

Words! They mean so much! Mastering language is of utmost importance for kids.

1. The first step in creating an environment that is great for language development is to show children that words have meaning. When you read a book, point to the words as you read them, as you cook a recipe, show the kids that they words on the page tell you HOW to create the recipe.

2. Reading to kids is the number one way to encourage them to master language. It’s also the best way to help kids become great readers. Children should be read to daily, in a positive way with physical touch. I try to touch all the kids as I read to them, I might put my arm around one, sit next to one, have one on my lap and hold another one’s foot or hand or rest my hand on their leg as we read. It’s not always possible to touch them all, but it’s a way to communicate positive memories with kids about reading, so I do it as much as I can. Click here to read more about the importance of reading to kids.

language development for kids

3. Another great way to improve children’s language skills is by talking to them. If you are a parent or a childcare provider, you should be talking all day long! You should listen to kids intently and look them in the eye when you listen to them or talk to them. Even holding their hands in yours so you can make them understand they have your attention and you want to hear them. You should talk about what you’re cooking for them, what you’re doing when you help them in the bathroom with potty training or changing their diapers, when you are getting prepared for an activity, when you are doing anything with them. We have to model good language skills if we want our kids to have them. Click here to read more about the importance of talking to kids

4. Music helps children develop language skill. The rhythm of music enhances all types of learning for children, and adults incidentally. Listen to all kinds of music with your kids. Click here to read more about how music enhances children’s language and other developmental skills.

5. Tell made up stories to your kids and listen to theirs. Imaginative stories are not lies, they are fantasies that help children discover life and the world around them. Tell your kids silly stories, a lot!

6. Cut down on screen time. Children under two should have no screen time and children over two should not be viewing screens for more than two hours a day. That programming should be quality educational programming as well. Children need interaction and response in order to learn language. Screen activities such as video games and television shows are not able to provide that to children and should be limited.

7. NEVER criticize how your child speaks. If someone mispronounces a word, just repeat it back to them correctly and praise their efforts. Do not say negative things about how children speak or shame them in any way.

8. Watch out for ear infections! Ear infections cause hearing loss and language delays in many children. Make sure you keep an eye out for them and look for warning signs such as pulling at or rubbing on their ears, drainage coming out of ears that is an off color, or the child complaining that their ears hurt. Ear aches are incredibly painful as well, so if you suspect your child could have an ear infection, get them the medical attention they need immediately.

9. Make sure to present plenty of activities to your children that stimulate language development. We do language experience sheets at Little Sprouts. I have a photo of each child doing something at daycare. I glue the photo to a blank sheet of paper and bring the child to the table. I ask the child to tell me a story about the picture and I write down exactly what they say how they say it. I give the kids as much eye contact as possible while I’m writing and I smile at them and encourage them with positive reinforcement. They love telling me their stories. I hang these on the wall at daycare until a month or two later when we make a new one so the kids can look at them and remember back about the story we wrote together. I give each mom a notebook at mom’s night out to keep the sheets in so she can look back and see how her child’s language has progressed over time. They are one of the most treasured things the families have commented on from daycare.

language development for childrenimproving language skills for children

Another activity we do is use the Clifford my big world books to read together each day. The sets come from scholastic classroom magazines and have a large book and a set of small books that are the same. We tape the large book to the wall and the kids get out the small books daily at story time. We read the book together out loud with them repeating what I read as I point to the words. Hopefully by the time we have been reading them for two weeks, the kids can tell what the books say. This is a great pre reading practice activity as well as a great self-esteem builder. To check out how to get your classroom magazines, click here.

Describing what you are doing or toys or materials children are playing with is a great way to increase language throughout the day. Make the most of meal times for pleasant conversations. We have the BEST discussions during meals at Little Sprouts. All kinds of things come up, even some parents would rather didn’t. Use your imagination to think of ways to add language experiences into every part of your day. Your kid’s language will develop right before your eyes. What do you to do encourage language with your kids?  


10 Great Reasons to Cook with your KIDS!

10 Great Reasons to Cook with your KIDS!

Cooking with kids is so important for many reasons. Cooking is a life skill children need and even though it’s tempting to shoo them out of the kitchen so you can get things done, every once in a while it’s a great idea to get them involved. Learn to cook with your kids. It’s a wonderful activity to spend time doing with them and then you can eat the results. Good times.

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