By Sherece Williams
Whether you celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus, Kwanza, or don’t celebrate at all, I’m sure this break is much needed. The kids are tired. The teachers are tired. It’s time for a break from it all. I can’t express how I’m looking forward to this much needed time off.
Winter break is time intended to do just that break. A break from the normal everyday hustle and bustle. It is not however a break from some of the daily routines you should have established with your kids. If you don’t have reading as part of your routine, this upcoming break is a good time to begin.
Daily, some time should be spent reading. Break is an excellent time to do some recreational reading. Instead of the teacher assigned reading, children can choose what they want to read. Parents can also make use of this time to catch up on something they planned on reading.
Children imitate their parents. If your child sees you reading, they will want to read as well. I remember as a child my mom used to read magazines a lot. She’d pick up various magazines at the grocery checkout and regularly I’d see her spend time reading magazines. Sometimes she’d cut things out and post to the board or refrigerator in the kitchen. If it was exercises, they would be taped in the bathroom or she’d get inspired to change the living room furniture around. Whatever the nature of the read, I’d see her reading on a regular basis.
I think I was in the third grade, when we received a flyer for a children’s magazine named Highlights. I went home with the flyer and begged my mom to pay for my subscription…and she did! The magazine was put out monthly. I’d receive the magazine in the mail with my name on it. I LOVED this magazine. I would read it from cover to cover. The teacher would allow us to bring the magazine to school and we could read them in class during our independent reading time. Needless to say everybody didn’t get the subscription so I felt privileged to have my own to bring to school. I could do the puzzles in the book and color any pictures because it was mine. I’d cut stuff out and hang it in my room. I would read this magazine entirely. Then, I’d save them so once I was done reading everything in the current magazine, I’d go back to old ones from prior months to read them again.
I say this all to say, a part of my excitement about having my own magazine was that I was able to do just like my momma was doing. I had my own to read. Being that this magazine was catered to young readers, it was concerning things I wanted to read about and/or that I found interesting. Today I still read magazines. My time is limited but I try to set aside time to read them especially if a cover topic catches my eye. One of my favorites is Women’s Health. There’s always something I need to know in it.
We have to set examples for our kids. We not only have to tell them but we need to show them what’s important. Good reading skills are a key factor in education. You need to be able to read and comprehend in every subject. I hear parents say all the time, “My child struggles in reading but she’s better a math.” Well, guess what? It won’t be for long! After simple addition and subtraction math becomes much more complex and involves lots more reading. I am a math person. Math makes sense to me. 1+1 is always 2, but in reading,“a” isn’t always “a” and that’s crazy to me. However, I learned how to decipher sounds to read.
We usually don’t like what we find difficult. Reading and comprehending is a skill we need and use all of our lives. Reading is not something that you shouldn’t avoid learning, so you have to keep at until you get it. No if, ands or buts about it. Why not try other methods to appeal to your child intrest in getting them to read? Introduce reading for leisure.
During this break, take your child to a bookstore or library and allow them to choose a book they might like. Talk to them about it, not quiz them, just casually have conversation about whatever they are reading. As they read more, they will become better at it. I know some are thinking, I have younger kids which means I have to read with them and that’s a chore. It’s winter break, what else are you doing? Reading with your smaller children 5-10 minutes daily is sufficient. As they get older of course you need to increase the reading time as they read on their own. Eventually, you won’t have to tell them to read. I can’t stress enough how important reading is to a child’s educations. Once they become good readers, every aspect of school will improve.
If reading regularly is not something you do already, take time over the break to start. This is an excellent habit to form with your child. I promise you won’t regret it. Try it!