Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2014

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22 Hudson Valley Parent ■ November 2014 pediatric practice. The policy, aimed at immunizing children against illiteracy, recognizes that more than one of every three American children starts kindergarten without the lan- guage skills needed to learn to read. In fact, children's reading proficiency by third grade is a good predictor of their success later in life. 'Read-Aloud' movement Jim Trelase has been at the fore- front of the Read-Aloud movement since authoring his instrumental book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook," in 1982. By 1985, the U.S. Depart- ment of Education's Commission on Reading was calling "reading aloud to children" the single most import- ant activity one could do to raise a reader. The seventh edition of "The Read- Aloud Handbook" was published in 2013 and includes a chapter devoted to technology and its challenges for literacy: iPads, e-books, and online reading and learning. Trelase points out that while teachers, librarians, and now even doctors, are recognizing the impor- tance of reading aloud to kids, it's the parents who can have the biggest influence on their children's literacy. Trelase calls children "little sponges" who absorb the world around them. He points out that children will replicate what they see. If they see you reading, they will want to read. It is at home, and as Billus points out, way before kids ever set foot in a school, that the love of reading is born. Model behavior "If we want our kids to be read- ers, we need to model that behavior and be reading ourselves, and be reading to them," says Lisa Prentiss, children's program coordinator at the Staatsburgh Library. Prentiss spent the summer read- ing aloud to kids at Adventure Day Camp at Hackett Hill in Hyde Park. Every Wednesday, kids in two age groups were treated to library time with her or a volunteer school librar- ian. The program, made possible by a grant through the Mid-Hudson Library System, incorporated read- aloud time, craft time and a satellite library at the camp. "When kids are at camp and parents are at work, it's hard to get library time," Prentiss says. "So we brought the books to them." Don't know what to read to your child? You can start with the books you loved as a child. Your love will come through in the reading. But don't force your child to read what you think they should be reading. Let them discover. Billus urges parents to consult with librarians. "We are book experts," she says. "We know what kids respond to and each book's subject matter." As a parent, don't think you are simply reading to your child. You are teaching your child to love reading, to build a strong vocabulary, to ignite imagination, to learn about the world and themselves, to learn how to deal with difficult situations and most of all you are creating a nurturing environment and associat- ing pleasure with reading and being with you. "Kids need to be bombarded with books," Billus adds. "Through books they can go anywhere, be anyone." Interconnectivity of reading Yuly Martinez-Foley of Middle- town has been working one-on-one with her 3-year-old son Zachary, using read-aloud techniques recom- mended by his speech therapist. "Among the benefits of reading aloud to Zach is the synergy, visu- al connection, improvement of his pitch, pronunciation and vocabulary. But even more important, it sets up time for the two of us to be together as mother and child in the midst of my hectic world." It is that bond that is perhaps one of the most emotionally satisfying elements of reading aloud with your Six-year-old Abby Foley of Middletown loves to read to her dolls. READING ALOUD (Continued from Page 21) (Continued on Page 24) "Kids need to be bombarded with books. Through books they can go anywhere, be anyone." — Lauranne Billus, librarian

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