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Great Ways to Keep Kids Reading Over the Holidays

November 21, 2012

(StatePoint) While breaks from school should be fun, they don’t have to be breaks from learning. The down time of the holiday season is the perfect time of year to keep kids entertained with books.



And with recent adoption of the Common Core State Standards, which set expectations for what students should be learning so they will be college and career ready, children of all ages will be expected to read more non-fiction.



“As a parent, you can play an important role in helping your children meet the Common Core State Standards while on break,” says Donna Elder, senior literacy specialist for the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). “By using fiction and their interests as a springboard for informational reading, you can make this a fun experience.”



Elder is providing reading ideas to feed your children’s interests. It’s all about offering them books on subjects in which you already know they are interested:



• For example, if your child enjoyed “The Cricket in Times Square” by George Selden, you can help foster his or her interest in crickets with “Insectiopedia” by Douglas Florian, “Chirping Crickets” by Melvin Berger, or “Cricket”s by Cheryl Coughlan.



• After reading “The Snow Child: A Russian Folktale” retold by Freya Littledale, follow up by encouraging your child to read about the science of weather with “The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting” by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad or “Weather” by Seymour Simon.



• Teens who couldn’t put down “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins may be interested in learning more about the origins and history of real athletic competitions. Start with “The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games” by Allen Guttmann.” Or entertain a newfound interest in the outdoors with “The Ultimate Survival Manual” by Rich Johnson or a field guides to birds. 



• Together, visit the non-profit website www.Wonderopolis.org, voted one of TIME magazine’s 50 Top Websites of 2011. Wonderopolis is an effective way to teach nonfiction reading, which the Common Core State Standards identify as a critical skill. The site’s feature, “Wonder of the Day,” is aligned with these standards, examining a new topic daily.



• Is your child interested in baseball?  From historical accounts like “Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game” by George Vecsey to a book that explains how bats are made, such as “Good Wood: The Story of the Baseball Bat,” by Stuart Miller, you can help kids score an academic homerun.



• Inspire the inner-chef in your children and test their ability to follow instructions with “Kids’ Fun and Healthy Cookbook,” by Nicola Graimes. Or opt for a picture-book biography like, “Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child” by Jessie Hartland.



Don’t let “educational” and “boring” mean the same thing in your household. By seeking out reading material that engages your children on their level on subjects that are meaningful to them, you can help them meet the Common Core State Standards, while having a very merry holiday season.



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