Advice and strategies to help your children read
Long ago in England, people honored their mothers on a special day called "Mothering Day." Carnations adorned the celebration. On the other side of the Atlantic, Anna Jarvis makes Mother's Day an American tradition starting in 1907. President Wilson then proclaimed Mother's Day an official holiday observed the second Sunday in May.
This day provides the perfect opportunity for children to demonstrate the warmth and support they receive from their mothers all year long by creating a meaningful, homemade gift from the heart. Dads or sitters can assist in the preparation.
On unlined paper, ask your child to draw and color in a portrait of her mother leaving room to write the title, "My Mom is Special Because..." Next, on another blank page, ask her to write a thoughtful sentence about why she feels Mom is special and then illustrate the idea (e.g., "She always reads to me at night."). This project is a very useful way to exercise reading and writing skills with each new page she chooses to do. When it's done, place the portrait page on top, attach the finished pages by punching holes on the side and tie it all together with colorful yarn or ribbon.
For more nifty ideas and cards children can create for their moms, visit these Web sites:
These books should be shared with Mom on her day:
"A High-Fiving Gift for Mom" by Judy Bradbury
"No Time for Mother's Day" by Laurie Halse Anderson
"Mother's Day Sandwich" by Jillian Wynot
"The Mother's Day Mice" by Eve Bunting
-- Susan Rapp, Village Reading Center
Books build strong girls
Independent women begin as young girls with a yen for self-empowerment. The Brave Girls and Strong Women Bookstore is a web site tailored toward such feminists in the bud. What it lacks in fancy designs it makes up for in its selective list of more than 40 books grouped by age that puts young ladies at the forefront of complex situations, mainly within problem solving roles. Most of the titles come from small publishers, where "little known treasures" are often overlooked, and can be ordered directly through the site. Here is a sampling of the good stuff:
"Princess Jessica Rescues a Prince" by Jennifer Brooks
"Frog Girl" by Paul Owen Lewis
"Father Gander Nursery Rhymes: The Equal Rhymes Amendment" by Douglas Larch
Though it's a girls-centric space, there is room for others. "Boys should be encouraged to read these books too, to see strong girls and women in action."
There's also a list of books for adults about the loss of self-esteem and how it affects their daughters and what parents and teachers can do to nurture girls going through growing pains. Free study guides offered by children's author and web site creator Jyotsna Sreenivasan allow children to apply critical thinking skills to selected stories. This and more awaits you at members.aol.com/brvgirls/index.htm.
-- Athima Chansanchai
The Sun's readers tell their success stories and offer tips on encouraging children to read.
Sports lead them to read
"I have found that my sons read what interests them. Within several boxes, I have a large collection of old sports books, magazines and programs. These periodicals give us a weekend reading fest. They don't realize it, but when they look at an old World Series Program, they are reading." -- Eric Crossley, Laurel
Bedtime is book time "Ever since my daughters were born, I have always found time to read to them at bedtime. It made for a fun time for all of us, and a wind down time for them." -- Mary Lilly, Baltimore
Make an example of yourself "Let them see you reading every day. Lead by example." -- Donna Hamilton, Baltimore
Vary your vocal tones "While reading, use a lot of variety in your vocal tones. It captures the child's attention and makes the story a fun listening experience." -- William Reichart, Baltimore
The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to email@example.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.