Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Top 5 Ways to Incorporate Reading into your Routine:

1. Listen to books on tape in the car.

Audiobooks are a great way to sneak in a few chapters while commuting or taking the kids to different activities. Overdrive is an app that allows you to log into local libraries and borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free—as long as you're a member of that library. Let your child pick the book and they'll get in the car every morning for the ride to school excited about what will happen next in the story you're sharing.

2. Read a chapter of a book every night before bed.

Select something that you loved as a child and your enthusiasm will catch on! Don't worry if the level isn't quite right for them yet—you can read to the kids or take turns with them. During your bedtime routine, such as brushing teeth and putting on PJs, start asking your kids what they think might happen next or how they felt about the way the last chapter ended. They'll be eager to hear more when it's time to read!
3. Keep books accessible for all family members (even board books and laminated books for infants and toddlers). 

Giving your child the option of books during free time allows them to willingly choose that activity. When given the responsibility of choice, your child will not feel forced and, therefore, will have a positive association with reading. Keep a few library books in the car so there are fun options for the kids (besides the tablets and phones) while you're heading from place to place, and bring them along to sports practices or restaurants to keep kids reading during downtime. 

4. Visit the library on weekends.

Just going to a library can create excitement about books. Instead of going out to a movie next weekend, check your local library for events and activities that can keep your family involved with reading. Many libraries hold reading events or even bring characters in to visit. These events are almost always free and they're something you can do as a family!  

5. Incorporate reading knowledge into family interactions. “This muddy stream reminds me of the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Help your child understand that it is possible to relate to books.  Are they having a bad day, like Alexander? Does Grandma's huge wardrobe in her house lead to a magical place, like Narnia? Is your chore list as confusing as it was for Amelia Bedelia? These conversations will not only increase their comprehension of the stories, but also pique their interest and help them develop their own taste in literature. 

We hope these tips help bring your family more opportunities to read during your daily routine!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    The Top 5 Signs Your Child is Not Ready for Kindergarten:

    1. Does not have a basic understanding of letters and numbers.
    Most schools anticipate that your child will enter Kindergarten with enough academic background in numbers, letter sounds, and writing to not fall behind. Especially in the school systems that offer only half-day Kindergarten, it is important that your child starts the year ready to dive into fast-paced learning, as well complete homework that is assigned to make up for the second half of the day. Kindergarten is called "the new first grade" because familiarity with these basic concepts is expected.
    1. Does not show an interest in learning.
    As young learners, children about to start Kindergarten should be wildly enthusiastic about learning. If your child does not react positively to reading, discovering new knowledge, or trying new learning experiences, then it is likely they will not adjust well to the Kindergarten classroom setting. 
    1. Does not possess the ability to listen.
    Listening is the starting point of your child's ability to follow instructions. It is also the backbone of reading comprehension, which will help your child learn new information, become more familiar with vocabulary, word patterns, and sentence structure, and develop critical thinking skills. Although the process of listening and analyzing is just beginning at this age, it is necessary that children are able to maintain focus long enough to understand and complete tasks assigned in the classroom.
    1. Does not follow the rules or instructions of adults other than parents or guardians.
    Willingness to follow directions and participate in structured activities is an essential tool for Kindergarten. For many students, this setting might be the first time they have had to interact with adults who are not their primary caregiver. It can be confusing and upsetting to not have their parents or guardians nearby. Your child must have developed enough independence to behave well in a group in order to succeed in a Kindergarten classroom.
    1. Does not possess oral language skills.
    Your child should be able to express themselves through words. They should be able to tell you what they like, where they’ve been, and any other discoveries they make daily about the world around them. If your child is unable or unwilling to share their ideas verbally, it will be difficult—not only for them, but also for their teachers.

    Let SpiderSmart work with your soon-to-be Kindergartener! We can show them how much fun learning can be, and that the world of reading introduces them to fun, exciting characters and adventures.  

    Our tailored Reading and Writing Program will provide your child with the opportunity to experience dialogue and language patterns, and open up a world of discovery! By hearing a word in context several times, your child is far more likely to retain that information. Also, by answering questions about books, your child will learn to make connections to their own experiences. It will provide endless topics for them to open up about and explore

    We also offer early math programs to instill number sense, counting, and critical thinking skills in a supportive, interactive and fun environment!