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It’s getting cold outside, which means more time indoors, earlier bedtimes (more sleep, please!), and lots of opportunities for cooking and snuggling up with a good story. And, with the holidays coming up, lots of kids will be out of school and away from their normal learning routines.

The learning experts at HOMER have put together a Winter Reading Challenge to encourage you to keep your kids excited about learning and give them some breaks from all the sweets. So find a nook to nestle in and start our challenge!

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Update your iOS, Android, or Amazon app to the latest version and visit the menu in the HOMER Reading app.
  • Read a story. Download the full winter reading list here.
  • Cut out a snowflake (either make your own or download ours with your reading list.)
  • Write the story title on the snowflake.
  • Punch a hole in the snowflake and add it to a string you hang in your child’s room.
  • If your child completes all stories on the reading list for her age group by Jan. 12, we’ll send her a special certificate and HOMER goodie bag to celebrate her achievement.
  • Share pictures with us on Instagram, including #KidPoweredLearning, for a chance to win a Parker The Augmented Reality Bear!
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Q&A with Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Many children feel that unless they read with the fluency of adults, then they are bad readers. Other children see classmates having an easier time learning to read and it makes them insecure. Children rarely accept the “everyone learns at a different pace” line — although it’s the truth. They don’t accept analogies like baseball players need a lot of practice before they are master athletes.

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Q&A with Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

No one knows more about children’s books than librarians who work in the children’s room of a library. The librarian at your child’s school is an equally valuable resource. There are also bookstores with excellent children’s departments and very knowledgeable clerks.

Before talking to any of these people, I recommend making a list of books your child has particularly enjoyed and consider what kinds of books are the most appealing: books about kids like them, books about magical worlds, books with lots of action, books with lots of silliness. This will help you to select stories that your child will be more interested in reading.

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Q&A with Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Children who love books and stories before they are readers are very likely to love reading.  Children who get lost in stories they hear, who imagine characters and feel for the problems characters face, are likely to also get lost in stories as they start reading. Being swept away to other worlds as you listen to stories is the path to being swept away to other words as you read for yourself.

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Written by Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Featured on Jim Henson’s Family Hub

We’re big fans of learning AND playing. In fact, we often find ourselves doing both and don’t even realize it. Our very own Peggy Kaye, shared a few activities to get your family reading and playing, which were featured on Jim Henson’s Family Hub!  

 

Reading and play – do the two intersect? They can and they should – because when they do, the mix can be magical. Presenting reading tasks, or any other skill, in games or engaging activities lowers children’s anxiety and increases their involvement.

TREASURE HUNT:  

Saturday morning… nothing special on the agenda… might be time for a treasure hunt.

First, decide what the treasure will be. It could be a small toy, a cookie or a special trinket.  Then find a hiding place.  Next, take five to ten index cards (the more cards, the longer the treasure hunt) and write clues on them.  

The first card will direct your child to the second card.  “Look under the red pillow in the living room.”  The second card — which you will hide under the red pillow — directs your child to the third card. Your child goes from card to card until…the treasure…. is revealed.  

This game will take you about ten minutes to prepare, but the fun will last a lot longer than that.  Better yet, your child has a powerful motivation to read each card, which is the unspoken agenda for the game.

SCAVENGER HUNT:  

Next week, you might try a scavenger hunt.  This game works best when there are several players. Make a scavenger hunt list: something soft, something blue and red, something green you can eat, something orange you can wear, and so forth. Each hunter gets a bag to gather their goodies. The first to find everything on the list wins.

FAMILY JOURNAL:  

A shared journal offers a perfect way to make reading and writing an integral part of your family’s life.

To begin, you need a book with unlined paper to use as a journal. Drawing books work beautifully for this job. Once a week, each member of the family picks something that happened during the week that was great, or awful, or especially fun, or something worth remembering.

On the top of a fresh page, write the date, and then each person adds their experiences. Take dictation for young children, or let them use invented spelling. If what’s written isn’t understandable, you can translate underneath.  You might decide to use drawings, with or without captions, to share the week’s memory.  You might decide to include something you all did together rather than have different contributions.

After a few weeks, go back over the book and remember together.  Leave the book in an available spot so that anyone, including your child, can pick it up and thumb through it. If making this a weekly event isn’t optimal in your house, that’s fine. You can pull out the journal when it makes sense to do so.

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