How to Raise a Confident Reader

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss


Jumping into a good book is like taking your mind on an amazing expedition. Through
reading and writing, anything is possible. Creating worlds with talking animals, alternate universes, aliens, and more!

Unfortunately, not everyone has a natural taste for reading. Depending on a child’s learning style, reading and writing may feel more like a chore. As a parent, it is your job to convince them reading is fun! This may be difficult, but there are many ways to encourage a child to love reading.

How can we ignite a child’s passion for reading?


Read the Right Book


Choose or let your child pick a book that they can relate too. If they play sports, love camping or dancing, for example, find a book that encompasses those topics.
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Books are more enjoyable to read when you’re interested in the topic and want to know more.

Choose a book that is on your child’s reading level. Sometimes reading can be overwhelming when you don’t understand the words or is too long for them. A simple way to tell if a book is on your child’s reading level is by using the five finger rule. Read the first page, and have your child hold up a finger for every word they don’t know. If they don’t understand five or more words, they may not be ready to read that book yet. That is okay! Everyone learns at his or her own pace and overbook they read improves their reading level!

Read a variety of material – stories, poems, information books, newspaper articles, and comics for your child. Show them all the forms literature comes in. Maybe they would prefer to read short stories and poems instead of chapter books?

 

Create a Reading Space

Finding a quiet place to sit down and read a book is a great start a habit of settling down and focusing on reading. Create a calm and inviting environment where your child feels completely comfortable spending time with their favourite characters, and getting lost in a beautiful story. This should be a place where their imagination can run wild.

Lead by example! Make time for yourself to read a book as well. Go to your reading place and read your books silently together. This is also a great way for family bonding time.

My little bookcase has a wonderful list of reading space ideas here.

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Bring the Book to Life 

Try and plan ahead if the book is spooky and Halloween related, dress up in costume and read it by flashlight. If it about going to the beach, read it at the beach! By doing this, you’re bringing another element to the story. Visual and kinesthetic learners really connect when they feel physically involved.

Three vintage witches perform magic ritualWhen reading a story with dialogue change voices or share the reading by assigning a character to each reader.

Ask questions about what they are reading! How do they feel about the characters? What do you think will happen next? Can they relate to the characters? As your child becomes more familiar with books and reading, ask questions about the structure. Who is the protagonist? When you ask questions and discuss what they are reading it makes them think, and question what they just read helping their reading comprehension.

Many books now have apps and videos you can watch and play along with. For an introduction to book and reading, W5Go’s app on books and reading explains the many kinds of books and reading material available and when we use each one.


Library Dates

Set a day once or twice a month where you go to the library to find a new book. Make a date of it, grab a hot cocoa, and settle in for some family bonding time! Also, many libraries offer programs for kids or reading clubs your child can join!

Bringing a child to a library promotes being social and creates a sense of community. They can see a world of different books and can meet new people that also enjoy reading. The library community helps a child feel more comfortable with talking about what they are reading, expressing their thoughts, and feelings about a book. Joining a book club is a great way for a child to discuss and learn about how everyone views things differently.

Make it A Challenge 

Some children are really motivated by challenges and find it really fun to complete a task. So make a game out of it! How many books can they read over the summer?

Mback to shcoolaybe offer a prize like ice cream for finishing a book.

Make a chart counting the books they’ve read. According to SMART goals, people are more likely to achieve a goal, such as finishing a book, if they can physically see and track their progress. You can start off small such as a chapter every two weeks. By making it a challenge, a child can practice planning and setting goals to achieve them. It instills a habit of making time to read and set aside time to accomplish a goal.

Often libraries will release summer book series challenges, and there are plenty online to choose from. My KidsTime has a great list of summer books and challenges for kids here.

Be Creative!

While reading the book take time to draw, paint, act, or model scenes they have read. This helps children comprehend what they have read and will be able to retell the story to others. Use voices while reading aloud to make the book more interesting. Have your child create a voice and read along pretending to be the character.

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Try and find books that have movie adaptions or plays made about them. When they finish a book reward them with a trip to the theatre to watch the show together. Make a family date of it, grab a treat after, and discuss how the show compared to the book.

Come together with other parents to create a book club for your children. When they finish a book together, throw a themed party for the kids to talk about the story. Have fun with it!

Break the Rules!

Some rules are meant to be broken. Allow them to stay up a bit later to finish that chapter in a book. Read to them even if they can read on their own. Hearing others read helps with pronunciation. Let them move around while you read. For kinesthetic learners, this may help them listen and understand what the story is about. 

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Reading yields so many benefits for a growing mind, encouraging a child to read is like giving them the keys to the city. So go ahead give them the key and open the doors to possibilities! 

Books and Reading

W5Go’s Books and Reading app is an easy, fun way to introduce your child to the wonders of reading! Enjoy an exciting adventure in augmented & virtual reality, exploring the W5Go secret library, learning the who, what, where, when, and why’s of books!

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Talking to Children about Disabilities

Explaining to your child what a disability is can be quite challenging. It is a sensitive topic, you need to choose your words wisely and create an open dialogue with your child so they feel free to ask you anything. What you say in this conversation directly influences how your child will perceive others with disabilities. Here are seven things to keep in mind when you talk to your child about people with disabilities:

Children with disabilities are like all children, they have feelings they want friends, respect and to be included.
Life can be tough and everyone is trying to find themselves, especially children. They are easily impressionable and often wear their hearts on their sleeves. Words and actions can hurt, all children have the same wants to be included and respected. Teach your children to include all children including children with disabilities in conversation and games, they are no different than typical children and deserve not to be left out due to a disability.

354870-PAPUF2-370Children can be born disabled or become disabled from illnesses or an accident. You cannot catch a disability.
A person does not choose to be disabled something had happened that is out of their control.

Just because someone has a physical disability does not mean they also have a cognitive (thinking) disability.
There many many different types of disabilities each affecting the body in different ways. Some may just be physical meaning they bodies may have problems when moving, others can affect their brain making speaking, school work and thinking difficult for them and some disabilities can be a combination of both. Children with disabilities can do most of the things other children do, it may take more assistance and more time. Be patient and help them!

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Children with special needs are different and that’s not a bad thing.
Everybody is unique it is what makes us all so special in our own ways. If everyone was the same life would be pretty boring!

It’s okay to ask questions about disabilities. Knowledge is power!
Learning about different disabilities can help a child understand a personal situation better. Knowing how a disability can affect someone can allow you to help them more and be more empathic about situations.

Choose your words wisely   When talking to your child choose your words wisely. The way to describe children with disabilities will influence the words your child uses to also describe disabilities. Make sure they are accurate and sensitive. Teaching them the correct words like special needs, disabilities, or even the names of specific disabilities like autism and down syndrome.

Be a friend. The best thing you can be is a friend.

Childhood lessons Taught in the Garden

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The garden, a wonderful place to learn and grow! (Pun Intended)
Growing a vegetable garden with your child can teach them many life lessons. Planning, planting, growing and harvesting shows them the many steps our food takes to get from farm to table.

We often don’t think of the many life lessons our activities teach us. Learning to garden at a young age exposes us to many great life lessons, morals and values rooted in us that take with us into adulthood.

Prepares Us For Adulthood 

Adulthood is can be an emotional rollercoaster. Like a garden, everyday something is new, there are so many challenges ahead and garden can teach us those many life lessons we need to live and grow into a successful life. 

Getting Intouch With Nature

ladybug-54311_1920The garden is full of exciting creatures! When your child is working on their own garden, they are bound to run into a creepy crawly or two. Introduce them to the many different elements gardening has to bring.
These encounters can be so inspiring to a young child when they are done in the garden encourage them to write and draw about their experience.
Gardens are a great example of the most basic forms of life it shows the fundamentals of the food chain and how the environment works.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better 

Having a garden you can manage with little stress is much more important than having a large garden you cannot manage. 

Everything in moderation, creating and planning a garden that is manageable will allow for a plentiful, stress-free life. 

Replanting tomatoes

Growth Doesn’t Happen All At Once
A plant goes through many stages before it flowers. Each of these stages has a purpose and are important for the plant to grow, some stages take longer than others. Just like a plant, we have to go through stages before we bloom. You cannot just go straight from a seed to a perfect watermelon in a day good things come to those who wait.

In life when you get frustrated about the long road to the finish line (like graduating college) think back to the garden and the many steps it takes to get to somewhere worthwhile.

Accept Help When You Need It 

Sometimes we can be stubborn and feel like we can do everything on our own. It is important to know when to put our pride aside and accept help, for the greater good. Don’t wear yourself thin trying to do everything, work as a team and accomplish more. 

Persistence Is Key

In a garden, sometimes no matter what you try a flower may refuse to grow. Don’t let failures stop you from trying. Access what you did, study, ask for help and come back with a better game plan.   quote-if-at-first-you-don-t-succeed-try-try-try-again-william-edward-hickson-54-34-92

Be Flexible Life Changes 

Life changes, and sometimes it changes fast, for good or bad. Being able to adjust and adapt to new conditions only makes you stronger. 

Beauty Comes In All Shapes And Forms 

No two flowers are the same, yet each one is pretty in its own way. A garden full of identical flower would be boring, wouldn’t it? There is beauty in being unique.

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Clear Out The Negative To Make Room For Positivity 

Weeds can grow all over they can take over a whole garden and ruin your precious plants. Just like in life you need to cut out the negativity and not give it any room to grow. 

 Take Time To Smell The Roses 

Life happens fast, always take a moment to enjoy the present. When we’re constantly planning for the future and living in the past, we often miss beautiful moments right in front of us. 


Things Grow Then You Take Care of Them
Last, but not least! One of the biggest lessons a garden can teach a child is that through hard work and planning come great rewards.  All things in life last when you put effort, hard work and love into it, relationships, items, yourself everything in life follows this rule.

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Feeling inspired to grow your own vegetable garden with the children?  Roll up your sleeves, get dirty and have fun in the garden! These are the top 10 easiest vegetables to grow from seeds. Get in touch with your roots! 

 

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Spinach                              

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There are many apps designed to introduce children to the importance of healthy eating. There is a variety of games and lessons available on google play and apple store for this topic many free to play but have in-app ads and purchases.

W5Go’s Healthy Kids is a collection of apps exploring how our bodies work and the many ways we need to take care of our bodies. This app is designed for children in preschool and kindergarten, these fun learning games get children excited to learn how they take care of their bodies. With episodes on the five senses, the food groups, hygiene and more your child will have so much fun learning about their bodies!

Healthy Kids is free on Apple Store & Google Play

 

Unique Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas Pickles

 

pickleOn Christmas Eve, once the children have gone to bed, many parents around the globe sneak downstairs to help Santa deliver the gifts, as well as hide a Christmas pickle in the tree!

In the morning before anyone can open gifts, someone must find the pickle! By doing this, children can explore and appreciate all the ornaments on the tree. The colour of the pickle makes it quite hard to locate and can sometimes take a while to find.

This wonderful tradition teaches children teamwork, patience and to enjoy the moment. In a lot of households, children rush to the tree and start tearing open presents. By placing the pickle in the tree for a scavenger hunt, children are forced to stop and appreciate the moment, be patient and work together to find it.

This tradition, originally from Germany, has been adopted and modified by many different cultures. The person that finds the pickle is usually rewarded by receiving a special gift from under the tree, or they are allowed to open their present first.

Hide Your Broom! 

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This is quite the tradition to spark your imagination! It’s not common in North America to associate brooms and Christmas, but this Norwegian dates back centuries to when people were much more superstitious than they are today. They believed the evil spirits such as witches and ghost would come out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. This is still a very popular tradition in Norway. Most people hide their brooms in their houses to avoid them being stolen.

Operation Christmas Child Boxes! 

Tis’ the season of family, cheer and giving. Operation Christmas Child is a tradition started in Canada by the Samaritan’s Purse organization. They work with the community to create boxes full of goodies and personal products that children in difficult circumstances could use.

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Christmas is different for everyone around the world not everyone is able to have a holiday full of gifts, family, feasts and festivities. These boxes bring so much joy to children in need and are quite fun to put together and wrap.

Get into the Christmas spirit with your family and friends and come together to create a couple of boxes. You can order packing party kits from their website, which include shoeboxes and other supplies.

OCC-pictureWhen creating your Christmas box choose a gender and an age range you would like to make the present for. Find a shoebox and fill it with presents, wrap it (make sure the lid can still be removed), place an age range and gender sticker on it and drop it off at the closest donation location.

Helpful Items: 

Toys: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as toy cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.

School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, colouring and picture books, etc.

Non-liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.

Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.

Crafts: Make your own items such as hair bows, finger puppets, and friendship bracelets.

A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself, your family, or group. If you include your name and an address, the child may be able to write back.

For more information visit Operation Christmas Child.


Fill your Best Shoes with Hay and Vegetables

St.Nicholas day is the first major event in the advent calendar across many European countries. Celebrated on December 6th by Western European countries and Romania, December 5th in the Netherlands and on the 19th in Eastern European countries.

The evening before the feast of Saint Nicholas, children gather their favourite shoes and place them by the door or on a windowsill for St. Nicholas. Often filling their shoes with hay and vegetables for St. Nicholas’ horses. Traditionally, children would wake up to shoes filled with coins, fruit, sweets or smalls gifts (Shoe Sized).

13 Trolls of Christmas 

This is very similar to the last one but with a very unique twist. In Icelandic folklore, there are 13 Yule Lads (Mischievous Trolls) of Christmas, each of which visits children for the 13 days before Christmas.

Each night of Yuletide, children place their favourite/best shoes by the window. Each night a different Yule Lad visits, leaving presents for good boys and girls and rotten vegetables for the naughty children. 

They all have different personalities and backstories, along with some interesting names.

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Stekkjastaur – Sheep-Cote Clod
(Bugs sheep and has pegs legs)
Giljagaur – Gully Gawk (Hides in the gullies, waiting to scare cows and steal milk)
Stúfur – Stubby (Short and will steal pans to eat leftover crust)
Þvörusleikir – Spoon-Licker (Steals Spoons)
Pottaskefill – Pop- Scraper (Steals leftovers from pots)
Askasleikir = Bowl-Licker (Hides under beds waiting to steal bowls)
Hurðaskellir = Door Slammer (Likes to slam doors)
Skyrgámur – Skyr- Gobbler (Yule lad addicted to Skyr Yogurt)
Bjúgnakrækir – Sausage Swiper (Hides in the rafters and steals sausages)
Gluggagægir – Window-Peeper (Looks through windows for things to steal)
Gáttaþefur – Doorway-Sniffer (Has a very large nose)
Ketkrókur – Meat-Hook (Uses a hook to steal meat)
Kertasníkir – Candle-Stealer (Follows children to steal their candles)


Santas_LandingSantas Runway (Luminaries)

Organize with the neighbours for children to cut and decorate brown paper bags to create a runway for Santa to land his sleigh on your street.

Once the bags are beautifully decorated, Christmas Eve place them at the bottom of your driveway before going to bed.

Spider Webs in the Christmas Tree 

Ukrainian Christmas trees are traditionally decorated with a fake spider and web. The custom, which is said to bring good luck, stems from an old wives’ tale about a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree. She woke up on Christmas morning to find a spider had covered it in a glittering web.

Remember: There is no better present than being present!

Happy Holidays!

10 Best Motivational Quotes for Students

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All of us have a teacher, parent, friend or quote that inspired us to achieve more and believe in ourselves.  Sometimes all it takes is hearing a motivational quote to spark our passions and achieve more!

 

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9 Ways Learning Music Benefits A Child

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Learning music at a young age can help to sharpen senses, spark creativity, encourage learning, ignite a passion for music and so much more! Here are just some of the many, many benefits of learning music from a young age.

Sparks Creativity

This is pretty obvious, creating music sparks creativity and imagination. The possibilities when creating a song are endless, with so many different instruments and sounds, how could you not be inspired. Encouraging children to embrace their creativity and imagination will allow them to grow with an open mind.  As an adult, a pure sense of imagination is a quality most of us most of us lose as we grow up.

Two girl relax playing guitar and sing a song

Memory

Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory.

354918-PAPUIW-790Recent studies have shown that people who are musically trained have better working memory skills, helping them to remember things even while their minds are busy with other matters important aspects of mental arithmetic and reading comprehension. Learning music also requires significant levels of concentration, training children to focus their attention for sustained periods.

Confidence Booster 
Learning new skills, meeting new people and experiencing something new builds confidence. Picking up an instrument and being able to play is something to be proud of.

Sharpen Your Skills 

Listening Skills

Along with concentration and coordination skills, listening skills flourish when a child learns an instrument. When playing along with others, you need to really pay attention and listen to others playing as well.

Concentration Skills

Playing music requires a high amount of concentration, focusing on reading sheet music, rhythm, tempo, pitch, sound and so much more. Watching your timing, as well as listening to others, keeping up with their timing and tempo. It takes a lot of effort and skill to blend in with others as while as stand on your own.

371256-PB8R6J-934Social Skills

As a child, how many of us made bands with our friends? Learning an instrument opens many new conversations and communities for your child to join. Working together with groups on something creative can be empowering and so beneficial to a confidence and self-esteem.
Many people that join bands or orchestras become best friends, often becoming like family. Many lifelong relationships found their roots through musical activities.

Coordination Skills

All instruments take a lot of concentration and coordination to play. Depending on the instrument you choose a lot of hand-eye coordination may be necessary. Many instruments like piano and string instruments require you to use both hands promoting ambidexterity, where others such as percussions require coordination from hands, arms and feet.



Meditation & Relaxation

Music is a universal language, and everyone has their preferred genre, but one thing we can all agree upon is that music is a great source of relaxation. It has been scientifically proven to calm the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine and the psychological stress response.

Fun fact! These ten tracks are scientifically proven to be the most effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

1) Marconi Union – Weightless
2) Airstream – Electra
3) DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4) Enya – Watermark
5) Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
6) Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
7) All Saints – Pure Shores
8) Adele – Someone Like You
9) Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria
10) Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

Perseverance

Learning an instrument takes time and effort, no one picked up a guitar and instantly knew how to play it. It takes commitment and many days of practice to become moderately good at an instrument. In fact, many professional musicians will practice a difficult piece of music multiple times before they can play it correctly.

We at W5Go believe music is such a vital part of learning and life, we’ve created an interactive app for children 4-12 about the Who, What, Where, When and Whys of Music!

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Download available now! 

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