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Family lesson: read and succeed together

On Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Roots and Wings Education Project and Urban Expressions Bookstore are sponsoring Family Reading Night. Memphis families looking for fun, food and laughter will find all that and more as Family Reading Night travels to the Raleigh Springs Mall this week.

On Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Roots and Wings Education Project and Urban Expressions Bookstore are sponsoring Family Reading Night, an evening designed to promote reading as a fun family activity.

Reading out loud is one of the most important things parents can do to help prepare children for school. Literacy experts will be available to answer parents’ and caregivers’ questions and comfortable family learning stations will be set up in the mall to offer useful tips and strategies. Readers of all ages will find interesting books on a range of topics. Families will able to take some books home for free.

Local authors will be on hand to read children’s books aloud, and engage in question and answer sessions with the families. Activities will take place both in the bookstore and at Raleigh Springs Mall center court. Door prizes will be given out and families can register for a chance to win a free Android Pad.

In a report, The Condition of Education (2003), the U.S. Department of Education noted that, upon entering kindergarten, children who came from “literacy rich” home settings demonstrated higher language skills than those who did not. This positive relationship existed without regard to a family’s socioeconomic status.

The Memphis-based Roots and Wings Education Project endeavors to promote literacy as a family construct among disadvantaged populations. The initiative is charged with building collaborative partnerships that will help to eradicate disparities in the Memphis Community through community outreach events and educational opportunities.

10 ways to make your family more literate

1) Read to young children for 20 minutes every day. It sends the message that reading is important and will help them to learn how print works. It also increases their brain development.

2) Echo-Read. Read one line out loud, then have your child repeat what you said.  Point to the words as they say them.

3) Buy or download audiobooks. They are great for iPhones and MP3 players. If you can’t read aloud on some days, this is a great alternative. They are also great for longer car rides.

4) Have a letter of the week for younger kids. Let them identify things in your home that begin with this letter. This is also great for car rides. If the letter is “B” for example, have the child name everything he or she sees that begins with “B” while you are driving.

5) Create a Word Wall in your child’s bedroom. When your child comes across a new word, write it on an index card and add it to the wall. Let the wall keep growing and have your child read the words a few times a week. Soon they will be surrounded by words.

6) Choose something from the newspaper and have older children read aloud to you. Their reading will become more fluent with lots of practice.  

7) Go to the library. Let your children choose books that interest them and read them aloud to you or younger siblings.

8) Create a book club for you, your children, their friends, neighbors...anyone!  All you have to do is choose the book and set a date to discuss it. Many books now come with discussion questions. If not, you can create your own or have everyone in the group create a question.

9) Use social media. For young children, your family and friends provide a great network. You can help them create brief messages and read the ones they receive.

10) Words are everywhere! Song lyrics, signs, the Internet...Have your child read these to you and discuss them. Who, what, why, when, and how? These are the key questions to boost comprehension.

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