Inspiring children to read can be challenging at times. Reluctant readers struggle with the confidence to even attempt reading, let alone read for pleasure. Reading is a gateway to different worlds, and instead of inspiring anxiety or disdain, here are a few suggestions of how to get your kids hooked on reading.
- Visit the Toronto Public’s Library ‘KidsSpace’ online:
With over 100 different stories to listen to, and a variety of different engaging activities, you can get your kids reading without them even realizing it. Interacting with kid-friendly websites is a great way to practise reading, and this one is fun, safe, and smart. One of the most impressive features is Tell-a-Story Challenges. Children can use templates or create their own stories of up to 14 pages by dragging and dropping characters, props, captions, and speech bubbles on a background. When completed, the story can be emailed as an attachment to read again and again.
- Storytelling with a modern twist, at Storyline Online
This online resource is a favourite with classroom teachers and other professionals the world over. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Foundation has continued its endorsement of children’s literacy through its ‘Storyline Online’ initiative. This site features professional (SAG) actors reading notable children’s books, with graphically dynamic videos. Also included are supplemental activities for each book developed by a literacy specialist. The website currently streams 24 stories featuring celebrity readers including Annette Bening, Hector Elizondo, Betty White, James Earl Jones, Jane Kaczmarek, Bradley Whitford, Sean Astin, Esai Morales, and Elijah Wood.
- Go anywhere and be anything…with Reading Rainbow
Many of you will remember the classic PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow, with the incomparable LeVar Burton, from your own childhood. Visit its website and take video field trips with LeVar as he shares tales, both old and new. You can also try out their Award winning Reading Adventure App for free.
- Love You Forever, Robert Munsch
Fans of Robert Munsch will be thrilled to find out he has a terrific website, which includes recordings of the author reading his stories for streaming or downloading. Also included on the website are silly poems, short stories, and fan contributions. And, if you are truly inspired, you can even contact Mr. Munsch directly through his website or via mail.
- Vote for your favourite 2014 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award Finalist
Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm. Show your passion for reading by voting for your favourite finalist in the 2014 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award competition. Take your time reading the various finalists’ entries. When finished, start a dialogue on why you did or did not enjoy the story, giving details. Then, enter the Fan Choice Contest, vote online, and read what others are saying about this year’s finalists.
For more information about helping engage your child in reading, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit www.ruthrumack.com.