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Building literacy one children's book at a time…

Wow! That’s A LOT of Reading!

I have been meaning to write about children needing 1,000 hours of “lap time” before they’re ready to read so it was sort of serendipitous to see Read Aloud Dad‘s recent blog about kids (and adults) needing 10,000 hours of practice to become the best of the best at anything – including reading.

Long before our kids can start logging those 10,000 hours of practice reading, they need to learn how to read and that’s where the 1,000 hours of lap time comes in.

The National Institute for Children’s Health and Development has said that young children need 1,000 hours of lap time before they will be ready to learn to read. So what counts as lap time? Reading books aloud counts, but so does talking, singing, rhyming and chanting.

Wow.

1,000 hours is difficult for me to get my head around.

So how about we break this down into manageable chunks…

  • If you are smart enough to start while your baby is just weeks or months old, your child will be ready to read (by kindergarten) with only about 1/2 hour of lap time every day.
  • If you wait until your child is 2 years old (about 3 years before kindergarten), you will have to play catch up and invest 1 hour every day.
  • If you wait until the year before kindergarten, you’ll need about 3 (yes, that’s THREE) hours of lap time every day for that entire year! Yikes!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that parents who haven’t invested any lap time in their child for the first four years are probably not going to invest 3 hours per day in that magical year before kindergarten. Starts to shed some light on why some kids are so unprepared to learn when they enter school.

So back to Read Aloud Dad… If a child needs 10,000 hours to become a best of the best reader, that could mean

1 hour of reading per day for 27 years

2 hours per day for 14 years

3 hours per day for 9 years

Double WOW!

I think the message here is START TODAY! Read aloud to your children no matter how old they are. And be a fabulous role model – let them see you reading books, newspapers, magazines, and online content.

You say you’re already doing this? Good for you!

Could you be doing more?

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Kids Want to Go to Space Camp? Try Smarty Pants!

Do your kids want to go to space camp, but you can’t fit it into your schedule or budget??

Are you worried about summer brain drain??

Smarty Pants Space Camps to the rescue!

Studies show that kids can lose up to 30% of their school skills over summer vacation, but Usborne’s new Space Explorer Camps will keep kids actively reading, writing and exploring up until the new school year begins and they will have FUN doing it!

These standards based programs are scaled for different age groups (pre-K through 6th grade) and include a series of challenges, missions and hands-on experiments for children to explore and solve collaboratively with friends and family.

Each camp kit includes a student lab notebook (see an excerpt) and a set of fiction and non-fiction books for reference, reading and exploration. Get the neighborhood kids together – the kits work with groups of all sizes.

It is hands-on-literacy fun that is perfect for the summer or for enrichment anytime. It is all the FUN of camp at your house!

Junior Astronaut Kit Junior Astronaut Kit (Pre K – 1st Grade) How High is the Sky?, On the Moon, Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon, First Encyclopedia of Space, Living in Space, 100 Science Experiments, Junior Astronaut Official Camp Notebook  order now »
Discovery Astronaut Camp Kit Discovery Astronaut Camp Kit (2nd – 3rd Grade) How High is the Sky?, Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon, Space, Living in Space, What’s Physics All About?, 100 Science Experiments, Discovery Astronaut Official Camp Notebook  order now »
Apollo Astronaut Camp Kit Apollo Astronaut Camp Kit (4th – 6th Grade) Science Encyclopedia, Story of Astronomy and Space, 100 Things to Spot in the Night Sky, What’s Physics All About?, 100 Science Experiments, Apollo Astronaut Official Camp Notebook  order now »
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Promoting Literacy: My Own Book

Here’s an uplifting article in the WSJ about a retired lawyer who started the My Own Book program. My Own Book volunteers take disadvantaged 3rd graders to a bookstore to purchase $50 in books each. For many of the children, this is their first visit to a bookstore. After the books are purchased, the children perform skits, read aloud, and build dioramas. Program evaluations show that 92% of the children read more at home after getting their own books. Such a great program – we need this in all cities!

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