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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. You can easily create musical instruments with household items. Use items such as boxes, pots and pans, paper towel tubes or wooden spoons. Have fun with your child creating and "playing" your homemade instruments—you can even pretend to play a concert together.
  2. Play movement games using a parachute (don’t have a parachute, use a bedsheet). Use the parachute to practice different movements activities such as up and down, slow and fast or directionality. Learn new songs or use the parachute to your favorite songs. You can also put soft items (stuffed animals, pillows, socks, the possibilities are endless) on the parachute and make them move, dance or fly in the air.

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