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What reading experts say:
The National Reading Panel states that reading comprehension is the "essence of reading." Comprehension is critically important in the development of children's reading skills and therefore the ability to obtain an education.

Initially, children understand only the literal meaning of what is read to them. Higher thinking skills and more complex comprehension develop and grow the more children are read to. Discuss what is going on in the stories you read aloud. Talk about abstract ideas such as feelings; make predictions and inferences.

As you read a new book:
  • Read the title, look at the cover illustration and ask your child to predict what the book is all about.
  • Read the first page or two and ask what might happen next.
  • When you have read half or more of the book, ask your child how he thinks the story will end.
What good readers know:
Good readers do more than just figure out letters and words. They think about the meaning of what they read. Good readers talk to themselves while they are reading and ask questions when they are confused about what is happening in a book. They make predictions about the story based on the cover and are interested in discussing the story and characters.

What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Week 1:
Use the calendar as a number line for simple addition problems. For example, start with March 10. Ask your child, "What date is two days more than March 10?" Count the days. Write the addition problem: 10+2= 12
Week 2:
Read five books from the "Counting" book list.
Week 3:
Go to the Library and check out something you've never tried before: a magazine, a Read-Along book, a Big Book or an Early Literacy Kit.
Week 4:
Cover each day of this month with a penny. Count the total number of pennies. Arrange them into groups of five. Then groups of ten. Explain that 5 pennies= 1 nickel and that 1- pennies= 1 dime.

Activities - Counting:
  1. Sing a nursery rhyme with counting (five Little Ducks, five Little Monkeys Jumping on the bed, 5 in the Bed). Ask a youth librarian or early childhood specialist in the Youth Services Department for a new nursery rhyme booklet.
  2. Practice writing numbers in salt, shaving cream, yogurt, paint etc. Let them get messy while practicing their fine motor skills.
  3. Playdough builds fine motor skills but is also great for color and number recognition.
  4. Play this game with your child while driving in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office or shopping together in the supermarket. I spy is a great game to introduce colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and look for attributes , “I spy with my little eye something round like a ball.”

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