Bedtime routines are especially important for children. Regular schedules and rituals give our children the predictability they crave. When kids know what to expect, especially when it includes a bonding routine like reading, it can help eliminate nighttime distractions.
Most doctors and sleep specialists will tell you to incorporate soothing, relaxing activities at bedtime. Some examples might include soft music, a warm bath, and our personal favorite, a bedtime story!
Here at Kids Read Now, we are big fans of reading — especially bedtime stories. Spending 15 minutes each night reading to or with your child can give you both a sense of connection and help establish a healthy routine.
Importance of reading before bedtime
There are no hard and fast rules for bedtime, just a few guidelines that will help establish healthy habits with your child. Reading before bedtime not only sets a calm atmosphere, but it also helps their busy minds calm down.
Additional benefits of reading before bedtime include:
- Giving children a sense of security and stability
- Developing children’s imaginations
- Improving focus and concentration
- Improving vocabulary and language skills
- Helping children develop empathy
Healthy bedtime rituals can help your child fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. As your child grows older, an established reading habit at bedtime will be second nature. Establishing good habits will not only take away the stress out of putting a child to bed, but it’s also a great way to spend quality time together.
Every night before bed, have your child pick out a book, and read along with him or her for 15 minutes. Chapter books can help reinforce your nightly routine as your child will look forward to each new chapter before bed! Don’t be surprised if your child wants to read the same book over and over, either. Rereading books helps your child have a deeper understanding of the material and presents an opportunity for stability.
At Kids Read Now, we remain focused on keeping kids interested in reading and expanding their imaginations. We have book programs that keep children reading all year long! If you would like more information, please reach out to us to learn more. Let’s work together to eliminate the summer slide, close the achievement gap, and create beneficial bedtime routines for all students!
Want a fun way to encourage your kids to read? Make it into a reading BINGO game!
Summertime should be a fun experience in a child’s life, but with the world’s uncertainties and extended time away from the classroom, our kids are glued to screens more and books less. As a result, experts are concerned that children will fall behind even more so than usual.
So, how can we keep kids motivated to read more?
At Kids Read Now, we put our heads together to come up with an exciting way to engage students and motivate them to pick up a book… Reading Bingo!
Reading Bingo is just like the classic bingo game, except that it encourages kids to try different and fun reading challenges. With the goal of completing the bingo card, kids will be eager to push through the various options. They might even find new books they enjoy!
Reading Bingo Printable
Kids don’t have to view reading as a school-time obligation. Reading is an imaginative adventure! By providing choices to a child with specific reading goals, we can help empower them to make fun and creative reading choices.
Click on the graphic to download a full-size printable bingo card
Here’s how the bingo card works:
- Each box on the card has a different reading challenge. They include teaching moments, genres, emotional tools, and more! These different options encourage kids to explore new books and ways to read them.
- You select the time frame. Depending on how advanced your child’s reading level is, you may choose to challenge them to longer chapter books over several weeks or keep it short and sweet for a boost in self-esteem.
- Your child works toward completing one row at a time. After each “bingo,” the child gets a small reward.
Ideas for Reading Rewards
Kids get super excited when they have something to work toward with a prize at the finish line.
When your child has completed a bingo, make sure to reward them for their hard work! Rewards aren’t bribes, and they don’t have to be big-ticket items, but an opportunity for kids to reap the benefits of working toward a goal.
Here are some reward ideas:
- Ice cream date with mom and dad
- Choosing the dinner menu or restaurant
- A new book off of their wish list
- A day date with mom and dad
- A challenging puzzle, LEGO set, or game
Trying new things can be hard for kids, but with a little encouragement of a grand prize and the time you spend together while they’re working towards their bingo goal, you will have a bookworm on your hands in no time!
At Kids Read Now, we know our students like to have fun while learning, and it’s up to us to make that possible. Motivation is key, especially when regular school schedules have been disrupted.
A new incentive like the Reading Bingo game might be the answer to keeping your child on track this summer.
Every book we mail home has a book-specific “Discovery Sheet” on the inside front cover.
PARENT TIP: For books you get from other places, you can help build reading skills by making up questions or activities like these and talk about EVERY BOOK when your child finishes reading it.
It has room for your child to write in his/her name as the proud owner of the book. Pride in book ownership is a crucial first step on the path to loving reading.
Each sticker has four activities that will help your child better understand the book and improves their reading comprehension. These are written at the reading level of the book, so kids can read them easily. Some questions suggest working on an activity and/or discussing with a parent. Questions in Read-To-Me books are designed to be done with a parent. Most can be answered by talking about them or drawing a picture. Upper-level books have fun or challenging activities that match what is being taught in class to become a stronger reader.
Typically, each sheet includes the following four categories which work together to help a child better understand the book. To think how it fits into what they have read elsewhere, already know about themselves, compare with other books or shows, and use their imagination or creativity. For example:
Text to Self:
Text-to-self connections are highly personal connections that a student makes between parts of this book and their own experiences or life. For example, “What are some of the ways these animals take care of their babies, and how is this like how your mom takes care of you?
Text to Text:
Sometimes students are reminded of other things that they have read; other books by the same author, stories from a similar genre, or perhaps on the same topic. For example, “Pick two animals in this book. How do they take care of their babies? How are they the same? Or, different?
Text to World:
Text-to-world connections are the larger connections that a student brings to this book. We learn about things through school, teachers, parents, television and videos. For example, “What would happen to most of these animals if their parents did not take care of them?” or “Have you seen a program on television that talked about animal babies? How was it the same or different from this book?” Keep asking your child to talk more about it. The more they talk about what they have seen, the more they will learn and internalize it.
Creativity / Imagination:
This activity might ask your child to do something creative, such as draw a picture, draft a letter to the author, or imagine what might happen in a sequel to this book.
Always encourage longer explanations:
Brainstorm with them! Look up new facts, make up a play, or perform a puppet show about the story.
Ask your child to use new words they may have learned in this book.
Talking more about books helps make children better readers!
The Kids Read Now app (iOS | Android) helps foreign language-speaking parents better help their children. The Discovery Sheet activities can be viewed in over 150 languages.
Click here for a sample Discovery Sheet
Exciting innovations in technology have wildly evolved over the last decade. You can hold the universe in the palm of your hand, view high-definition videos with lightning speed, and connect with people all over the world with a simple tap on a screen. Pretty cool, right?
But what do these technological innovations mean for old-fashioned reading? Is technology taking over?
The answer is yes, but the benefits of reading do not decrease as technology booms. In fact, the benefits of reading become more important than ever before.
Screen time use by children, tweens, and teens has doubled in the last five years and continues to grow. Teens are connected to screens for videos, TV shows, movies, social media, video games, and more. Phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions are a huge part of their daily lives—so let’s use them for good, and fun.
Technology + Reading = Win
Did you know that 8 to 12-year-olds use around five hours of screen time per day while teens average around 7.5 hours per day? These averages don’t account for homework or learning time. Reading for fun decreases the older a child gets, especially if reading isn’t established as a daily habit.
Only six percent of Americans name reading as a favorite evening activity—the lowest Gallup has recorded in its trend. More and more families are spending time watching TV as a favorite evening routine, while reading is dropping considerably.
Technology is an excellent way to enhance learning by increasing the brain’s ability to assimilate and decode information. This juxtaposition between increases in screen time and decreases in reading time is cited as one reason for the literacy crisis in America, where less than 35% of students are proficient readers.
There is a way to reverse both disparate trends. Make screen time reading time by simply turning on the closed captions. Every 30 minutes of screen time equals reading 30 pages of a book!
So how does Kids Read Now help?
When most people think of summer, they easily envision backyard barbecues, swimming pools, vacation, and long lazy days in the sun. When we think about summer, we think about the dreaded summer slide and how it disproportionately affects disadvantaged students.
Over summer, a divide plagues those from lower income families and places them at a sharp disadvantage in obtaining books or accessing online learning tools. Our reading programs are the easiest way to deliver high-quality, reading-range-ready books to kids at their home address—no technology needed! So, crack open that book to create a healthy, lifelong habit and turn on closed captions whenever you can!
Books have encouraged, taught, and provided new experiences to children for many years.
Books play a significant role in a child’s learning environment. As they develop, they are introduced to many genres that encourage learning, resolving conflict, embracing imagination, and discovering new ideas.
Parents may not realize that many of the books their children read will instill life-long lessons about navigating relationships, decision-making, self-awareness, and social awareness – otherwise known as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).
What is Social and Emotional Learning?
According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is the process through which adults and children understand how to manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, and nurture relationships.
CASEL supports teachers, parents, students, and even employers in cultivating healthy relationships, conscious decision-making skills, emotional management, and self-awareness.
As children grow into adults, SEL skills are put into action in everyday life. Especially with social awareness, kids learn how to accept a different perspective and navigate conflicts and unfamiliar social interactions in an emotionally healthy way.
Ways to Teach Kids about SEL
The majority of learning new life skills starts at home. As parents model appropriate behavior, the children will learn by watching, internalizing, and imitating their observations.
Additionally, CASEL recommends introducing the concept of SEL in classrooms through reading and other curricula. SEL is more than a 30-minute reading break or a placeholder in lesson plans. When presented as a systemic approach, SEL is infused into all facets of students’ lives: at home, in school, and the community.
Social and Emotional Learning Booklist
Here are books from our 2020 Wish List that focus on SEL.
Use these books in your classroom or at home to foster conversations about the value of SEL.
A Cat and a Dog / Un gato y un perro
By: Claire Masurel
Illustrated by Bob Kolar
A cat and a dog live together. But they do NOT like each other. Can they ever learn to be friends?
Pig Wants a Peach
By: Liza Charlesworth
Illustrated by Ian Smith
Pig wants a peach. But pig gets many other foods. Will she get a peach?
Please Write Back!
By: Jennifer E. Morris
Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris
Alfie misses his grandma. He writes her a letter. Now he has to wait for her to write back!
My Friend is Sad
By: Mo Willems
Illustrated by Mo Willems
Gerald is sad. Piggie tries to cheer him up. Will it work?
Don’t Throw it to Mo!
By: David A. Adler
Illustrated by Sam Ricks
Mo loves to play football! But, he’s not very good at it. He’s small, and has trouble catching the ball. Can he help his team win?
Brave / Valiente
By: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Being brave isn’t just for superheroes. We can all be brave!
It’s Not Fair! / ¡No es justo!
By: Rebecca Gomez
Illustrated by Roberta Collier-Morales
Charlie really, really wants to go to Mexico for vacation. But, it’s not his turn. Will he get to go? Or, will he be stuck at home?
I am Kind
By: Suzy Capozzi
Illustrated by Eren Unten
Are you a kind person? Are you kind every day? To your family? To your friends? To the Earth? Learn how to get even better at it!
By: Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
A little girl lives in a scary neighborhood. Instead of seeing the scary things, she decides to look for the beautiful things. What are the beautiful things in your world?
Amber Brown is Tickled Pink
By: Bruce Coville, Elizabeth Levy
Illustrated by Tony Ross
A wedding is coming. But there are disagreements. Large versus small. Expensive versus cheap. Friends versus just family. Amber takes on the challenge of finding a solution!
Social and Emotional Learning is a valuable part of a child’s upbringing and education. Developing these skills is critical to a child’s development as they transition from childhood to adulthood. If you have questions about helping your child or student with SEL, contact us.
“He turned and reached behind him for the chocolate bar, then he turned back again and handed it to Charlie. Charlie grabbed it and quickly tore off the wrapper and took an enormous bite. Then he took another…and another…and oh, the joy of being able to cram large pieces of something sweet and solid into one’s mouth! The sheer blissful joy of being able to fill one’s mouth with rich solid food!
‘You look like you wanted that one, sonny,’ the shopkeeper said pleasantly.
Charlie nodded, his mouth bulging with chocolate.”
The above passage is from the beloved children’s book and movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This book has been the subject of two movies and is considered a classic of children’s literature. It is also a book that is written at a third grade reading level.
A 2010 report compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, titled Early Warning! Why Reading By The End of the Third Grade Matters, lays out a grim image of what happens to a child that is not reading proficiently at that age level. In 2009, 49 percent of low income students were below “Basic” reading level when they reached fourth grade. This correlates to a 23 percent drop out rate for these students. Even raising their reading level to “proficient” lowers their odds of dropping out to just 4 percent. Lower income students are at greater risk of dropping out because of a general lack of resources, including time with parents.
The focus in education switches at that point in most schools. For the first eight years of their lives, students are learning to read. They are picking up vocabulary, context, and learning the flow of a story. Fourth grade is a pivot point where they start reading to learn. Their understanding of the written word and how it is used contributes to learning about topics like science and history. Lagging behind in the basics of reading this point accelerates the learning gap.
Bringing students to a third grade reading level is a critical mark to hit in the education of students. It is not a goal to start working on in the August they enter third grade. There are many other opportunities before then to bring them up to grade level.
The first opportunity is getting them ready for kindergarten. We know that reading at an early age provides lifelong benefits. If they are ready to read when they start kindergarten, they are already ahead of the game. They have a larger vocabulary to work with and they are already starting to put together words and context.
Encouraging them to read over the summer keeps them from the dreaded “summer slide.” Like any other skill, if you are not using it you are losing it. Students who do not read over the summer can lose up to two months of learning. They will be forced to work hard to catch up. A little bit of reading daily, even if it is at bedtime, can help prevent that loss.
Beyond being able to read wonderful books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, proficient reading by third grade is crucial. It is a launching point on the educational path into new worlds. They are laying the groundwork, even at that young age, to get ready for college. It is important that educators and parents are making every effort to ensure their success
Kids Read Now, a local non-profit organization dedicated to building literacy rates for young people across the country, announced it has moved to a new location in Troy, Ohio to accommodate its rapidly expanding summer book-reading operations.
On Dec. 15 Kids Read Now completed its move from a smaller shared space on the east side of Troy into a 16,000 square-foot property it will lease at 155 Marybill Drive. The larger facility will allow the organization to add up to 20 more employees, including four to six permanent employees over the next year, as well as 12 warehouse seasonal workers for the busier spring and summer months.
Currently among the top three literacy programs in the country, Kids Read Now expects to become the largest provider of summer reading materials for kids in kindergarten through third grade. The Kids Read Now business model is different than traditional summer reading programs that require kids to travel to libraries, camps or other community reading centers to access books. Instead, Kids Read Now sends books directly to students’ homes. After students finish reading one book, Kids Read Now sends out another one through the mail. And the best part — students get to keep all of the books they read during the summer for free.
Since its inception in 2010, the Kids Read Now summer reading program has helped tens of thousands of children. In 2017 alone, Kids Read Now distributed more than 80,000 books to more than 12,000 children in 34 school districts. Kids Read Now expects to increase that total to 50,000 children in 2018 and to 500,000 students in school districts across the country within three years.
“Moving into this larger space matches our business goals to expand our summer reading program significantly over the next few years,” said Leib Lurie, who founded the program along with Barbara Lurie. “We were fortunate enough to find a facility in Troy that meets our current needs yet offers flexibility for growth as we continue to attract more school districts into our summer reading program.”
Industrial Property Brokers represented both buyer and seller in completing the deal. Tim Echemann, a Broker for the company, said, “We are pleased to be able to help Kids Read Now relocate to a facility with the right space and amenities to suit their growing operation. The new location has the added benefit of a property owner who supports the Kids Read Now mission and vision.”
Industrial Property Brokers, located in Piqua, Ohio, is a premier full-service real estate company offering sales, leasing, investment analysis, tenant representation, and property management throughout Western Ohio and Eastern Indiana. For more information on this or other properties, visit www.IPBindustrial.com or call 937-492-4423.
For more information about Kids Read Now, visit kidsreadnow.org or call Mary Beth Reser at 937-681-2185.
The number of elements it requires to build students into lifelong learners is breathtaking. It takes the commitment of parents, teachers, principals, local leaders, and the determination of the students to stay on a path that turns reading into a hobby instead of a hurdle. Without the basic building blocks of reading, books, all that effort is for naught. A variety of books is critical; as a home library builds, having books for all seasons and moods is essential for a young reader. It is essential for ANY reader.
Studies show that as literacy builds for one child in the home, other members of the family, from sibling to parents, show more interest in reading. Oxford academic journals show overwhelming evidence, as part of a global survey, that easy access to books is a crucial element to building readers. It is one of the driving forces behind why Kids Read Now distributes so many books to students in need around the country.
Our program receives such impressive results because of the number of books delivered to our students. Thousands of books are sent to homes every summer, building those in home libraries. Because of the generosity of our supporters, we have warehouses full of books. Books that explore all topics, from historical events to comic book heroes. That has provided us the ability to help more than just the homes of the students that are part of the program. Kids Read Now has been able to help the schools these children attend as well.
We have been seeing the number of students, and schools, that have participated in stopping the summer reading slide increasing over the years. Last summer, we were able to support those schools by building their libraries. Our program donated 100 brand new books to seventy elementary schools in Ohio. Those books help over 12,000 students, giving them more reading options. The more options children have when they want to pick up a book, the more likely they are to reach for one as a source of entertainment. We have seen it in our research; those 12,000 students have read over 80,000 books, close to seven books per student!
Our access to low-cost books has benefitted students in need outside of the Buckeye State. When Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston, many of its schools were devastated. Some were able to open in mid-September, some were facing the prospect of never reopening again. The reasons for permanent closure ranged from overwhelming structural damage to loss of educational resources, including whole libraries. Kids Read Now was able to help one of those schools that were in danger stay open by donating over 2,500 books, preventing Texas from being forced to close it.
The staff and volunteers at Kids Read Now know the importance that books play in the lives of children, and those who are educating them. As our program grows, we are helping more and more students not just for one summer, or even two. By providing one of the fundamental building blocks of literacy, books, schools and families can build libraries. Libraries that are offering easy access to tales that entertain and educate families. Kids Read Now is thankful that we can play a small part in developing literacy in so many communities.
Over the summer, home is an incredibly important place in the development of a love for reading. That center shifts when the days get cooler and school begins. The classroom becomes the place where children continue to build their literacy skills. Instilling this desire goes beyond lessons taught in English class. There are amazing stories to be told in Science, History, the Arts and Social Studies. Every subject offers tales that can be inspirational to students!
The best time to foster a love of reading in students is when they are young. Younger students learn by imitating what they see in the world around them. In school, this means seeing teachers reading books while they are doing work at their desk. Or having a discussion with the principal about what books they are reading. Becoming role models for reading and literacy can go a long way to developing a love of reading in a student. There are plenty of ways to do that as a school:
- Share what you read – Let students know that reading is not only for homework! Teachers and staff should be willing to share what they are reading with their students, letting them see that reading is an activity for everyone.
- Read a book to the class – Students do not have to do all the reading themselves. Opening a book and telling the students a story, complete with different voices and changes in vocal tone, can bring the words to life. This technique is incredibly helpful for students who learn best by listening. Hearing the words also helps improve student vocabulary.
- Give students learning strategies – There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment. Especially on a task is difficult. Developing multiple ways for students to build reading skills helps them overcome these obstacles on their own. Every word they learn on their own boosts their confidence in their reading skills.
- Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) – First mentioned by Beverly Cleary, Drop Everything And Read is a great way to give students an educational, unplanned break. Between lessons teachers can have students read a book of their choosing, showing that reading can be done at any time. The combination of self selected reading materials and the encouragement of someone they look up to delivers positive reinforcement of their hobby. Students will want to read more as a result.
- Fill the class with books – Not every student will have a book for an impromptu reading break. If they do not have one they are working on, having a library in class can provide them options. Composing this library of books and topics the children enjoy will make DEAR time more enjoyable!
- Create active assignments based on what they have read – Worksheets about what a student has just read can dampen their enthusiasm. They can write stories about what happens next, or discuss in class what they think the reading meant. Having them engage with the story can help reinforce what they just read and improve reading comprehension.
The environments that students are part of is only part of the equation for encouraging reading. Demonstrating that reading is a pleasurable and relaxing activity helps students develop a similar perspective. The combination of parents and teachers acting as reading role models is the best way possible to encourage a love of reading in children.
Like developing anything important, building better students requires providing the right environment. This is an easier task when the children are in school. A school is filled with teachers, staff, and materials that serve the purpose of encouraging students to learn. Outside of the classroom, that encouragement is not always present. Those materials are not always available when they are at home. They do not need desks, whiteboards, or even computers to spend time learning at home. All they need are home libraries.
Having a library at home encourages students to spend time reading, and learning, outside of the classroom. Richard Allington, author of Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap, states that a handful of self-selected books could have a dramatic impact on a child’s learning over time.
In a multi-year study, he discovered that just adding 12 self-selected books to a home every summer can have the same learning impact that summer school offers. When books are convenient, it is more likely those books will be used by the students and parents. It creates a home environment that shows that reading is encouraged, especially when there are books within easy reach at all times. Helping parents build home libraries have other benefits as well:
- Continuous access to books – It can be difficult for parents, especially those in low-income families, to take their children to a local library over the summer. By developing home libraries, students have easy access to books all summer long.
- Topics of their choosing – Everyone is more likely to read books about topics that pique their interest. Teachers and parents can work together to build a home library of books that will encourage children to read not only through the summer but during the school year.
- Familiarity with the material – Children enjoy things that are familiar. They love their favorite toys and clothes. That same love of the familiar can apply to books, especially a favorite character in a series. A beloved character can expose them to new vocabulary over the course of that series, elevating their understanding of the language.
- Builds family literacy – Reading can be contagious. Once one member develops a passion for reading, it can spread to siblings and other people in the home. This has a multiplying effect of bringing more books into the home, creating a virtuous cycle of overall improved literacy for the family.
- Improved academic performance – Research shows that, even when wealth and location are taken into account, more books in the home leads to greater academic performance. Owning 500 books can add 3.2 years of educational gains over time, according to Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Even the addition of one book can have an impact on educational gains.
Creating a friendly environment for students to read changes the environment for the whole family. Even in areas where there may not be a bookstore or community library available, home libraries offer a bridge to literacy. It extends a small part of the learning environment into every home.