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Reading can create a wonderful bond between parent and child

November 30, 2000

Reading can create a wonderful bond between parent and child

Teaching your child | By Lisa Tedrick Prejean


How well do you know your child?

Would you like to get to know her better?

Start by reading a book together.

You'll learn a lot from the questions your child asks and the comments she makes.

Think it takes a lot of time? Try 10 to 15 minutes per child.

If you do it every day for 30 days, you'll develop a habit, says Diane Root, a literacy resource teacher at E. Russell Hicks Middle School in Hagerstown.

Root practices what she preaches. She has four children, ages 12 to 2 1/2. She reads to her 6-year-old while her 12-year-old reads to the baby and the middle daughter does her homework. Then she reads to the middle daughter.

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While parents may read to their children when they are preschoolers or in elementary school, many stop as children age, Root says.

"The biggest thing we hear in middle school is that parents and kids are growing farther apart instead of continuing that trend," Root says.

So where do you begin?

Here's some advice from Root:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> If you see a book or a magazine on your child's desk, check it out. If kids see their parents interested in what they're reading, they'll read more.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Provide reading materials on topics that interest your child.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Looking for Christmas presents? Consider reading materials. Here's an age guide:

Infants - black-and-white photos with a lot of contrast; cloth books

Toddlers - board books

4- and 5-year-olds - nursery rhymes

5- and 6-year-olds - Consider getting a Leap Pad. It has an electronic pen the child can use to select words he doesn't know. The pad pronounces the word. There are books made specifically for the pad.

Second- or third-graders - fables or other stories with themes. They need this foundation when they start reading chapter books in third grade.

Third-graders - boys may like Cam Jansen, a child's mystery character; girls may like Junie B. Jones.

Fourth- and fifth-graders - more in-depth novels; girls may like Baby-Sitters Club, School Daze; boys may like Encyclopedia Brown.

Middle-schoolers - Content textbooks, road books, newspapers, magazines.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A note on magazines: If your child subscribes to a magazine, do you know what is in it? A middle school student recently showed Root a copy of his Skateboarding magazine. She was amazed at the inappropriate language used in the publication.

Parents also may be surprised at what their teen daughters are reading. Content in teen magazines for girls has changed a lot, Root says.

"The magazines put our girls at risk. They really need parents to guide them," Root says.

Some magazines that may be appropriate for teens include: Sports Illustrated for Kids, Boys Life, National Geographic and other informational or geographical publications, Root says.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Looking for a book for your middle-schooler? Try these titles and authors:

"Burning Up" and other books by Caroline B. Cooney; "Dear America" books by Madame Alexander and "Holes" by Louis Sachar.

"Girls seem to be good readers in middle school. Boys don't realize that there's really good literature out there for them," Root says.

Boys may like these authors: Gary Paulsen, Clinton Cox, Karen Hesse, Jerry Spinelli and Gail Carson Levine.

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