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What reading experts say:
Research by Dr. Paul van den Broek from the University of Minnesota concluded that preschoolers' ability to make meaningful connections between events in their lives and stories in books is a strong predictor of later reading comprehension.

Parents can increase comprehension by more actively involving children in the reading experience. Studies have shown that there are significant gains in children's literacy skills when parents and children talk during shared reading times and children have a chance to explain how a story relates to their own lives.

What good readers know:
Good readers make connections between what they are reading and what they already know. ("This book says that monkeys eat bananas. But monkeys eat leaves too, because I saw them eating leaves when we went to the zoo.") Good readers also enjoy discussing how a character is similar to or different from them and how they would react to a situation faced by a character in the book ("What would I do if our dog started talking one day like Martha in Martha Speaks?")

What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Week 1:
Use the calendar as a number line for simple subtraction problems. For example, start with May 10. Ask "What date is two days before May 10?" Count down two days. Write the subtraction problem: 10 - 2 = 8.
Week 2:
Go to the Library and check out at least three music CDs. Try jazz, Latin or orchestral music especially for children. Pick up a copy of the Library booklet, "Nursery Rhymes, Songs and Fingerplays."
Week 3:
Make up a song or tune that includes your address and phone number. Sing it together so your child can learn both.
Week 4:
Read five books from the "Singing" booklist.

Activities - Singing:
  1. Sing a familiar song in a variety of ways. For example, sing ABC’s as a rap, or opera style. Another fun example is to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with a GREAT BIG SPIDER using a great big voice or a TEENY TINY SPIDER using a teeny tiny voice. This is a silly way to spruce up old songs, but also teach children the different tones of voice, rhythm, patterns of speech, music enjoyment, and allow for some creativity.
  2. Pick up a Nursery Rhyme, Songs, and Fingerplays brochure from the West Bloomfield Township Public Library. Sing the songs to your child during the day or before bed. Singing stimulates early language development, promotes attachment, and supports young children’s growing spatial awareness. Sing and dance around your house. It’s always great to have your child learn the rhythm of words and songs, it’s a great introduction to reading.
  3. The classic nursery rhymes contain all kinds of unique and unusual vocabulary (such as tuffet). Nursery Rhymes are good for your child’s cognitive and verbal development. A young child learns language far before they learn to talk.

More Great Books to Read(click on a title to check for availability at the Library)