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What reading experts say:
Concepts of print (print awareness) was listed as one of the 10 essential research-based principles to improve the reading achievement of America's children by The National Research Council in Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

Children need to know how our language looks and works in printed form. There are certain conventions of English language text that you can point out as you read stories. When children begin to realize that words tell a story, that we read from left to right and that there is a difference between letters and words, they are attending to some of the visual features of print that are important to reading.

What good readers know:
Good readers can identify the cover and back of books. They know that books have authors and illustrators and that the text within the book tells the story, not the pictures. They also notice print in their environment (signs advertising their favorite restaurants) and like to help with household chores (making the grocery list, creating charts of what each family member wants for dessert and "reading" the ingredients for a recipe).

What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Week 1:
Practice counting and one-to-one correspondence. Make a "counting box" with various items that are safe for your child to count independently, like cotton balls or jelly beans. Number a set of cups from 0-10. Put the cups in order and have your child count and put the matching number of objects in each cup.
Week 2:
Choose a favorite book and act out the story together. Make props with objects from around the house. Promote your child's imagination by making up alternate endings or extra characters.
Week 3:
Go to the Main Library or Westacres Branch. Act out a story with puppets, props and dress-up clothes in the Youth Services Room.
Week 4:
Read five books from the "Playing" book list.

Activities - Playing:
  1. Go outside with a bucket of water and paintbrushes. Allow your child to clean or write with the water on the sidewalk, house or deck. It is just water so it will help them with fine motor skills and clean at the same time.
  2. Create an obstacle course with household items such as a plastic spoon and blocks. Have your child balance blocks on a plastic spoon and walk as fast as they can down a hallway. Do five jumping jacks or find a letter around your house the quickest.
  3. Check out a CD from the Youth Services Department at the West Bloomfield Township Public Library. Play freeze dance with this CD or practice dancing slow, fast, high and low to this particular CD.
  4. Use animals as a mode in play. Play a Simon says type game where you “jump like a frog, hop like a bunny, stretch like a giraffe.”

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