We all know that children do better in school when parents take an active interest in their education. We all know that we should read with our children each and every day. BUT (guilt alert, guilt alert) HOW MANY OF US ACTUALLY DO READ WITH OUR CHILDREN EVERY DAY?
On May 13 the Deseret News is participating in two activities aimed at making reading together an enjoyable and natural part of the day's routine.First, during the statewide PTA conference at Brigham Young University, Sherry Madsen, of the Newspaper In Education staff will explain the "Family Focus" program.
"Families often have a hard time sitting down together in the evening," says Carolyn Dickson, Newspaper In Education manager. The Family Focus program teaches parents to teach their children while they are reading the newspaper at night.
"Parents enjoy reading the paper together because it is more interesting than a primer reading book. Children enjoy it as well. They like looking at what their parents are reading even if they can't read well themselves, yet."
Dickson lists other reasons to use newspapers to spark your child's curiosity. "Newspapers are inexpensive and constantly available. They are also the most current textbooks around. And using one lends itself to short regular periods of interaction."
Dickson believes even young children can and should learn the name of their state, city, governor and president and have some knowledge of current events. "Newspapers help children be better citizens," says Dickson.
PTAs that decide to present the Family Focus program to parents in their school will receive help. "We'll provide free of charge a newspaper for parents who attend a Family Focus meeting," says Dickson. Parents can come to the Family Focus meeting at their school, take the information home and work with their child just by picking up the paper.
Only it's not really work, Dickson adds. "We just tell parents and children to play with the newspaper. In addition a PTA can turn the Family Focus into a fund-raising project for the school. The Deseret News plans to give $6 for each new subscription and $3 for each renewal that comes about through the PTA's efforts.
Also on May 13, the Deseret News is cooperating with KBYU-TV (Channel 11) and KTVX-TV (Channel 4) on two programs to promote literacy in Utah - "Read to Succeed" at 1 p.m. and "Utah's Literacy Challenge" at 6 p.m. on KBYU-TV.
Duuring the 1 p.m. program, winners of the "Read to Succeed" contest will be selected and announced. The prizes, donated by businesses which want to encourage families to read together, include a trip to Disneyland and gift certificates to various restaurants and stores.
Perhaps you know a parent who struggles with reading. If so encourage him or her to call 538-7844, Utah Literacy and English as a Second Language Coalition.