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Read to your children with Herald-Mail's help

June 24, 2005

Even if your children are old enough to read on their own, there are benefits to reading aloud with them.

That's why, even in the age of computers, many teachers still read aloud with students in the classroom.

In an article published in NW Education Magazine in 1998, Catherine Paglin of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory wrote that reading aloud to children not only teaches them that it is an enjoyable activity, but it also improves their vocabulary and comprehension.

That's one reason why The Herald-Mail will publish the first installment of "Sand Dollars," by Bob Rouse, this coming Sunday, June 26.

It is the story of Brooke and Nathan Porter, a brother and sister who live in Sugar Shores, Fla., where their favorite activities are fishing, playing on the beach and spending time with their widowed mother, Allison.

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Despite living near the beach, the family isn't rich. The father died of skin cancer six years before and only Mrs. Porter's salary as a legal secretary has allowed them to keep their home. And fishing isn't just a hobby for the two children, but a way to put food on the family's table.

But then Allison loses her job and the family's situation becomes more difficult. Allison would like to go back to college and become a paralegal, but isn't sure where the money for tuition and books will come from.

The children decide that they will raise the money themselves with a variety of small business ventures.

Do they succeed? We won't reveal the ending now, but it involves a sand castle building contest and something fantastic that they find on the beach.

Besides being fun to read, the story also subtly teaches several lessons - about how family members need to help each other, how entrepreneurs think and, above all, the value of education.

Chapters of the story will run in each Sunday's edition of The Herald-Mail from June 26 until Aug. 4.

We hope you and your children will read it, talk about the story and discuss what it means. The research shows that reading together does good things for your children, but we guarantee it will make you feel good as well.

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