Mary Sweeney | November 16 | Cougar Chronicle

Dear New School Early Childhood Families,

Every day, our teachers spend time reading to your students. This daily routine is one of the things I miss most about being a classroom teacher! Nowadays, I try to make time at least once a month to read to our students and share with them some of my favorite children’s books. 

If your family would like to stock up your home library, I encourage you to shop our Scholastic Book Fair. The Book Fair will be online and will run from November 9 through November 22nd. All books will be directly mailed to your home. By shopping online during The New School’s book fair, you’re giving back to your child’s school! Remember, every dollar that families spend will benefit our school directly through 25% back in rewards.

During this month’s classroom reading, I was asked by students in one class if they could keep my books and “reread” them.  We see this a lot with our young children where they want to hear a story over and over. Research has told us that young children build their vocabulary by reading the same stories again and again. It is easier for young children to learn the meaning of a word when they know the context surrounding the word by hearing a familiar story.  So, even though you may be tired of reading the same story each night, it may help to understand that your child does not view it that way… they learn something different each time you read their favorite familiar stories.

In addition to strengthening your child’s vocabulary, reading to your child each day will benefit them in several other ways. A few additional benefits of reading to children include:

  • Supports their cognitive development
  • Improves language skills
  • Preparation for school success
  • Develops a special bond between you and your child
  • Increases concentration and discipline
  • Improves imagination and creativity
  • Cultivates a lifelong love of reading

Whether you have a large library at home or spend many nights reading the same group of books over and over, the connections you are making with your child are meaningful. If you’re looking for ways to further engage your child in your night time stories, try making reading an adventure— read in new places, read in fun ways, read by flashlight, read in a funny voice, dress up as the characters, or read to an audience of stuffed animals. Adventurous reading may take you to a whole new destination! 

Reading at home will make a huge difference in your child’s future school success. Before reading a story, ask your child to make predictions, ask questions, and make connections to other past stories or shows. After you read the story, have your child retell or read the story to you. You will be amazed at what they pick up on each time a story is shared. 

By making reading a part of your daily routine you can help children fall in love with reading. There are many ways to enjoy reading with your child. Here are a few ways to make reading a fun part of your everyday life by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. You can read the full article here.

  • Develop family reading routines and rituals
  • Read what interests your child
  • Try books that reflect your daily experiences
  • Let your child select books
  • Reread your child’s favorites
  • Encourage storytelling
  • Have fun while reading
  • Change your setting

Ordering through Scholastic is not the only way to help your children fall in love with reading! Although many public libraries are not open to the public to browse the shelves, most in our area are encouraging book lovers to check out online or schedule a curbside pick-up. There are also many online book programs available such as  Help your children “fall” in love with reading books this year and find a favorite that you both will never forget.

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents" — Emilie Buchwald

I hope that over this Thanksgiving Break you find time to snuggle up, read a book, find moments to connect with your family and be thankful for your time together. Please stay safe and healthy and have a great Thanksgiving Break!

TNS Strong, 

Mary Sweeney

Head of Early Childhood 

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