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How to Foster a Love of Reading and Writing in Your Child

The key to lifelong learning is reading and writing. When reading and wiring are a regular part of your family's life, you send your child the message that they are enjoyable, valuable and great ways to learn. Here are some ways you can start helping your child:

Reading

Keep many age appropriate books and other reading materials in your house. If you have the time, schedule weekly or biweekly trips to the library with your child. Take out books for yourself too. Show your child that you value reading and that it is important to you.

Start reading to your child at an early stage.

Make reading daily to your infant or toddler part of your daily routine. It doesn't have to be for more than 20 minutes a day. Do it at the same time each day, if you can, so that you both become accustomed to it. Have fun reading to your baby. Choose books with vivid colors and point out images and shapes to your baby. Be animated with your voice and facial expressions.

When your child becomes a preschooler, you can start reading for a longer period of time. To help develop your child's critical thinking skills, encourage your child to ask questions or to predict what will happen next in the story. Be enthusiastic about reading. Read the story with expression. Make it more interesting by talking as the characters would talk, making sound effects and using facial expressions and gestures. Encourage your child to do the same.

As your child's ability to read develops, let your child pick out a favorite book to read alone. Make time to read the books together. Take turns, with you reading one page or paragraph and your child reading the next. You might also read the parts of different characters in a story. If your child is unsure of the meaning of a word, have your child use the surrounding words or sentences to figure it out. If this doesn't help, just tell your child what the word means and keep reading. Buy a children's dictionary-if possible, one that has pictures next to the words. Help your child get into the habit of looking up unfamiliar or difficult words. The American Heritage Picture Dictionary is great for preschool and early elementary school students.

StarFall.com is a great website for learning to read for pre-kindergarten to second grade. All the learning materials are free. http://www.starfall.com/

If you notice that your child is having some difficulties with reading, get some help for your child. The problem can be related to poor vision or your child might help extra help. Find tutoring services in your neighborhood or online to help your child. Identify if your child is having problems with vocabulary or reading comprehension.

You can get a free reading aptitude test for grades 2-10 at Mind Play.com-http://www.test4free.com/assess.asp

The good news is that no matter how long it takes; most children can learn to read. By working together with your child's teacher and other educational professionals, you can determine if your child has a learning disability or other problem.

As your child gets into middle school and high school, your child will have other distractions and interests. You can continue to help your child by buying books that would be of interest to them.

Guys Read.com provides recommended books for boys and teen guys. http://guysread.com/

Writing

You can encourage even your reluctant child to become a writer. The key id to help your child understand that writing is an important communication tool. Writing also helps your child to organize his or her thoughts more clearly.

Here are some tips for getting your child to write more.

Have your child write stories that are of interest to him or her. If your child is a reluctant writer, ask your child to write about something he or she wishes for or dreams about.

Don't point out errors in their writing, but guide our child so that he or she can make the corrections. Ask your child to tell you more about the story or ask your child to create a book based on the short writing assignments. The point of this exercise is to help your child express thoughts through writing. If your child's strength is not writing, do not force your child to become an avid writer. Be enthusiastic about your child's writing. Ask you r child to read what he or she has written to you. Hang up your child's writing and encourage other family members to read it.

Have your child write thank you notes to family and friends or write notes to your child or use a message board to leave notes for your child. Encourage him or her to write notes to you too!

When you child is upset or sad, if he or she is up to it, have your child express the feeling through writing.

As your child gets older, you can support his or her writing needs by helping to get thoughts organized and making sure that the writing is intelligible and coherent. Let your child see you writing so that your child understands that writing is important.

Most importantly, make writing fun for your child.

If you want to contribute to your child's love of learning, you must model the enthusiastic attitude towards learning you would like your child to possess. By showing your child that you value learning and education, your child will develop better feelings towards education.

Marie Magdala Roker is a Personal Development Coach with Smart Bee Coaching LLc. Her site Successful Child.com strives to provide valuable resources so parents can play an important role in the personal growth and development needs of their children. Visit her online at http://www.successfulchild.com

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