Literacy – Stephanie Avidon, Chair

  THE BENEFITS OF READING

Why read to your children, or encourage them to read? As parents we need to help our children find the tools they need to succeed in life. By motivating our children to read, they will begin to enjoy reading and will grow into adults who read easily and frequently, whether for business, knowledge, or pleasure.
 
Here are some benefits of reading with your child:
 
·         Educational Testing Service reported that students who do more reading at home are better readers and have higher math scores.
 
·         Young children need to practice letter and sound recognition and can do so by reading or being read to. This is also a way for parents to contribute to their child’s academic success.
 
·         Reading together helps develop a child’s attention span. Furthermore, reading aloud more difficult books is likely to increase a child’s listening comprehension and vocabulary.
 
·         Family values and cultural traditions can be passed on to children through books.
 
·         Reading can be inexpensive and fun entertainment for both adults and children, and provides a good alternative to television and video games.
 
·         Books can expand a child’s imagination, boost their self-confidence and help them develop an appreciation for the arts through the book’s illustrations.
 
·         Shared reading time is one way to bond with your children, share in their interests and become more involved in their lives.
 
·         Reading books on difficult issues, such as divorce or death, can open the lines of communication between parent and child on these topics.
 
·         Finally, being read to is an experience that children will remember for a lifetime, and one that will form the foundation for all future learning.

IDEAS FOR READING TOGETHER

Here are some simple ideas parents can do to encourage their children to read:

·         Read aloud to your children. Read books, newspapers, magazine articles, the backs of cereal boxes, labels on cans or even directions.

·         Set aside a special time each day when you will read together as a family for at least 15 minutes.

·         If your child likes a particular book, look for other books by the same author or illustrator. Also, look for books, plays, comics or magazines that correspond with your child’s interests.

·         Occasionally read to your child above his/her intellectual level to challenge his/her mind.

·         Set a good example for your children by reading yourself. Be sure they have plenty of opportunities to see you enjoying reading and talk with them about what you have read.

·         Help you children get their own library cards and let them pick out their own books.

·         Keep a bag with a few of your child’s favorite books and some new stories. Take it wherever you go out, in case you have to wait somewhere. 

·         When reading out loud with your child, take turns reading paragraphs or sentences. Have your child choose a character from the book and have him/her read that character’s lines throughout the book. If your child struggles with a word, tell him/her the word and continue in order to make reading a pleasant experience.

·         Encourage experienced readers to summarize verbally or on paper what they’ve read. Children should be encouraged to read for entertainment and not just for academics.

·         Fathers and father figures should make an extra effort to read with their children. A dad’s participation in reading with his child helps to elevate reading to at least the same status as baseball and hockey, especially in the eyes of his son.

·         Encourage older children to read to younger children, to other family members and with friends.

·         When you finish reading together, encourage your child with praise. Remember to be enthusiastic about improvement as well as good work.

Source:  NYS PTA PARP Toolkit.  For more information about literacy and promoting reading with your child(ren), look at the PARP Toolkit Section 5 below. 

PARP – Pick a Reading Partner

Learning to read is the single most important activity in a child’s education.  Studies show that children who read at home are better prepared to succeed in school.  PARP is a program that cements the necessary bond between the home and the school to encourage love of reading in our children.

PARP is a statewide PTA administered program that asks parents (or caregivers) to read with their children for at least twenty minutes a day, stressing the fact that reading can be fun as well as informative.  The choice of reading materials can vary from books to anything with printed words to even playing word games like Scrabble or Boggle.  The daily activity of reading together strengthens reading and communication skills in the child and also strengthens the parent/child relationship.

A PARP program can be run at little or no cost.  It is a voluntary effort of the school/ local community which includes parents, students, administrators, teachers and staff in a collaborative partnership whose focus is on reading.

PARP Toolkit
NYS PTA has created a Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) Toolkit which provides all the necessary materials you need to run a successful program.  Each section is now available in Google Doc format and some are also available in PDF. You can now also see past PARP Award winners.

PARP Toolkit

PARP Award
New York State PTA sponsors regional PARP Awards annually, from which one statewide winner is selected.  New York State PTA units, schools (including pre-schools, non-PTA schools, non-public schools, middle schools and high schools), public libraries, community and parent groups may apply for this award. More information is available here.

Congratulations to Our 2020 Nassau Region PARP Award Winners Are …

Nassau Region PTA PARP Winner:  East Lake PTA in Massapequa Park.  

Their 3-week program was entitled “Red Carpet Readers:  The Book Is Better Than the Movie.”  Each student received a Swag Bag, similar to what celebrities receive at award shows, and VIP Passes to the Red Carpet Kick Off Event, which had a Book Swap, Dr. Seuss and Book/Movie Review Stations, a Chromebook activity and more.  They also tied in with their local public library and Barnes & Noble.  Prior to kick-off, they had a Bookmark Creating Contest where students featured books they wanted to be made into a movie.  They collected selfies of students reading throughout the program which were posted on the school television system and PTA website.  Their numbers of participants surpassed last year’s, and they had a large committee with key school personnel as well.     

Nassau Region PTA PARP Honorable Mention Winner:  Garden City PTA. 

Their PARP program entitled “Reading Takes You Places,” which was inspired by all the places books allow us to travel whether real or imaginary.  The program was two weeks long and ran in each of their elementary school throughout the district.  They enlisted the help of middle school students to create a kickoff video and high school world language students read “This is Me” to classes and discussed what they would pack in their suitcases if they were traveling to a new country.  Their Pajama Literacy Night doubled in attendance from last year.  The ESL teachers provided a daily phrase/greeting for the morning announcement in the top languages spoken by families within the community.    

Both programs made an impact on the students, families and community and truly encouraged the love of reading!   Congratulations to both East Lake and Garden City PTAs.  Thank you to the other units that submitted an entry too.  Every program was fun, interesting, and promoted the goal of reading together.

We encourage you to share your successful program!  Through this application process, your PTA unit could be recognized for their creative ideas and hard work for conducting the most outstanding Parents As Reading Partners Program in our Region.  The state PARP winner will receive two free registrations for the NYS PTA Convention and a plaque presented at the convention.  The award-winning application will also become part of the PARP Toolkit.

All PARP Award Applications must be received by the Region Director no later than June 15.

All Region award winners will be notified before August 15.
The State PARP Award winner will be announced by September 1.

The full New York State PTA PARP page is available by clicking here.

If you have any questions about how to run your PARP program or about the PARP Awards, please contact:

Stephanie Avidon
Nassau Region Literacy Chair

Picture Books that present amazing women

Here’s how Read Brightly introduces a list of 12 biographies for children: “Picture this: a girl, not unlike someone you might know, who took what could have been an ordinary life and turned it into something extraordinary. These 12 women changed the world in a way that only they could.” And who are they? The list is quite varied, ranging from Turning Pages by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to a biography of Mary Shelley, the originator of Frankenstein. Animal-loving youngsters might enjoy The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps or Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved ReptilesClick here for the complete list.