By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Executive Director of Miracle Math Coaching
May is “Get Caught Reading” month, an observance to underscore the importance – and fun – of reading. What does that have to do with Math? Because reading for pleasure improves children’s brains, according to a British study of 17,000 participants. And you know I’m a brain-building fanatic.
I especially love that cracking open the books also boosts children’s Math abilities, the researchers confirmed. Ten year olds who read for fun more than once a week scored higher in vocabulary, spelling and mathematics when tested six years later.
Over the years, I’ve provided ideas to get students reading. To celebrate the month of May, here’s some of that advice:
- Put books in the bathroom. Keep reading material handy, right next to the toilet. When your daughter is waiting for nature to call, she might pick up that book she ignored earlier.
- Take your kids to the movies. Many children’s movies are based on books or are turned into books after the fact. It doesn’t matter which you introduce first – the screen or the page – as long as you have your children experience both. You can have a great talk comparing how the story was told each time.
- Take them to the store. Have them tell you the first few ingredients in that box of cereal. Let them sound out words on the meat packages. Ask them to lead you to the “Bread” or “Pasta” aisle by reading the signs. While you’re waiting in line, have them read you the headlines of “Family Circle” or “Good Housekeeping.” (And avert their eyes from magz with the Kim Kardashian cover).
- Barter with them. I have a friend who doled out television time in reading increments: her son could watch TV for 15 minutes only if he read for 15 minutes first. The more he read, the more television he could watch — up to a limit, of course.
- Pay them. I know, I know. We want our precious ones to read for the joy of it. But offering an external reward to a child who internal reward system is not triggered from reading is actual proven to be a positive. financial reward for reading signals to them that you believe it’s valuable. Deciding on the – let’s face it – bribe is up to you. And it depends on her age. A quarter per picture book? A dollar per chapter book?
- Let them catch you reading. Your actions have a much greater impact on your children than your words. If your son sees you reading – or better yet, sees that you belong to a book club – they’re much more likely to want to read. When he cracks a book, snuggle up to him with one of your own. I was never a huge pleasure reader, but my daughter Ramiyah always caught me reading text books, studying and applying myself to learn new things. She began mocking me and started reading when she was two and a half years old!
Reading, Writing and Math are all important and students can lose up to three months of academic progress during the summer. Prevent that by allowing my team and me to relieve the burden of worrying about your child learning this summer. Join Miracle Math Adventure Camps. For more information, please check out our summer camps webpage. And call 707-398-3474 to enroll today (press 0 when prompted to find out what spaces are still available. Space is limited to maintain quality. Allow your child to stride into the classroom this fall as a true Math Genius. We’ll make it happen.