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New Year: New Habits to Help Reading

The New Year’s Family Literacy Project

In Stephen Covey’s, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families”,  he states ‘the process is as important as the product’. New Years is always a good time to review the way we do things. 

So, let's have some fun talking about some exciting habits you could try at home this year to help your kids with literacy! 

To help me with this is the Director of Early Literacy, John M. LePelley, M.Ed., of the Cleveland Literacy Cooperative:

“Why is literacy is so important? Well, it’s because we will need to be proficient in it to succeed in school, at work, on the road, and at home, for the rest of our lives! Whether it’s digital or print, the need to read is never going away. So, what kinds of habits can you create at home to help your family with improved reading? I’ve broken it down into steps for you and I think it seems easier than you think (and more fun too). Check out these steps

Do you have an hour a night, once a week or twice a month?  Whatever you decide…it’s up to you! Just stick to it. (It takes about 21 days to make something become a habit.)

STEP 2 INTERESTS: Is your child into computers, outdoors, arts ,crafts, sports, fashion?  Align your literacy project to an existing interest.

Read, write, talk and ask a lot of questions!  Literacy and communication go hand in hand. Without going into a text book definition, it’s basically ‘the understanding of what is being read: meaning words, symbols, numbers, etc., the ability to communicate through writing and the ability to think critically’. Communication is mainly about talking and listening and being able to provide feedback, so a Family Literacy Project can also be a great way to grow family bonds!

STEP 4 KISS: Growing up, my principal used to say,  “Keep it Simple Stupid.”  Or, for those who prefer something more endearing, “Keep it Simple Silly.”  The phrase: “family literacy project”, can sound overwhelming and sort of boring to your kids; it’s probably the best for everyone if you disguise your project.

1    Blog it!  You’re already reading blogs – create one with your family!

       Book it!  Write a book together.  It doesn’t have to be Huckleberry Finn.  Make a children’s book for a new baby to give during the holidays.  Once created, there are websites which will allow you to “publish” your books.  You can scan pages and the company will bind and print them for you.  Draw the illustrations, use photographs or collages for the illustrations.  Use your favorite children’s books as examples.

      Film it!  Flip Cams are often on sale and most phones and photo cameras now come with filming capabilities.  Create a family movie.  Write the script for a creative film or think of an interesting topic and create a documentary.  Have your children write down questions and interview someone.  Perhaps, you can even create a filmed family history.

4   Pic it! Create a family photo journal.  Take pictures of special events, holidays and family field trips.  Then, go through the photos.  Have everyone choose their favorite photo, print the pictures and then create a book out of them.  Each child can write something about their photo to include in the book.  This is a great way to be on top of keeping memories and everyone can chip in! Work on one page each month.  It can be years-in-the-making!  And, best of all, it’s a great family keepsake.   

  Read it! Create a reading circle – it could be focused around the holidays.  To help build excitement around this idea, hold a book exchange instead of a gift exchange.  Choose a book and have a book pass during dinner.  Pick a holiday children’s book and pass it around so that everyone has to read a page.  Some families pray at the table – maybe your family can read at the table!

Commit to spending at least a couple of hours a week on your Family Literacy Project and watch your children’s reading and communication improve and your bonds become tighter. Pick one of the Steps above and enjoy it! But, like that new diet and exercise routine you vowed yourself to this year; if you don’t like doing it, you probably won’t stick with it. Keep it simple.

Happy New Year from Family Matters with Amber, John LePelley, and everyone at the 
Cleveland Literacy Cooperative.

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