Dad of Divas' Reviews: Encourage Reading On Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Encourage Reading On Valentine's Day

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, and to help parents nurture their child’s reading abilities, Sylvan Learning is offering grade-specific tips for reading at home. With more than 900 centers located throughout North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring services to children of all ages and skill levels.

“Children who read regularly at home do better in school and become enthusiastic life-long readers. By encouraging children to read at home, parents can help their children establish an enduring love of books, transforming reading from a basic skill to a pleasurable activity,” says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., Sylvan Learning's Senior Vice President for Education Outreach.

Sylvan Learning recommends that parents spend at least one hour per week – 10 to 15 minutes a day – reading with their children.  

“Reading is an adventure that begins early in a child’s life and should extend beyond the classroom,” Dr. Bavaria continued. “Children exhibit certain reading behaviors at a young age and by understanding and nurturing these behaviors, parents can make reading fun and motivate their child to develop a lifelong friendship with books.”

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
  • Make cookies together. Read the recipe aloud to your child.
  • Read directions to your child when completing a project.
  • Subscribe to a magazine (Ladybug, Your Big Backyard, Zoobooks, etc.) to learn about topics of interest to your child. Your children will be excited to have their own reading materials.
  • Pick a storybook character (Arthur, Strega Nona, etc.) and pretend that character is coming for dinner. Help your child plan activities that character would enjoy.
  • Help your child relate read-aloud stories to events in her life.
  • Read stories aloud and act them out.

Grades One through Three
  • Subscribe to a magazine for your child (Spider, Ranger Rick, etc.) to learn about topics of interest to him. Make its arrival an event.
  • After reading a nonfiction story, ask why your child thinks the author wrote the story.
  • Help your child create charts and posters about topics of interest.
  • Read picture books by the same author (Tomie DePaola, Bill Martin, Jr., etc.) and compare and contrast them: How are they the same? How are they different?
  • After reading a book, discuss it with your child – identify the characters, setting and problems in the book.
  • Help your child recognize how stories are similar to or different from their life.
  • Encourage your child to read various types of texts - non-fiction, plays, stories, comics and/or magazines.
  • Introduce your child to the library and plan special library visits together.

Grades Four through Eight
  • Help your child with the latest experiment in his science book. Talk through each step and discuss what you’re going to do next.
  • Pick a different country each week, and challenge your child to learn a bit more about that country by visiting the library or researching it online.
  • Research and select books about your child’s interests – such as a sport or hobby.
  • Make a trip to the library a weekly “date” with your child.
  • Read the newspaper with your child. Elicit her opinion about current events.
  • Encourage your child to read series books (Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, etc.)
  • Create a family book club where you and your child read the same book and discuss it.
  • Help your child find a favorite author. Have him create alternate stories for the author’s repetitive characters.
  • Read your child’s favorite books.

Grades Nine through Twelve
  • Read various types of directions (recipes, technical instructions, experiments) and determine the usefulness of the instructions to the reader’s life.
  •  Purchase a set of reference books or software for home use.
  • Read newspaper editorials with your child and discuss them.
  • Quiz your child when he has a test. This not only reinforces his note-taking skills and study habits, but also helps reading comprehension.
  • Encourage your child to talk about the latest book he is reading. Ask to share his favorite scenes with the rest of the family.
  •  Read classic works (novels, plays, myths, etc.) and compare the plot, characters, setting to today’s world.
  • Read books by the same author, comparing and contrasting styles across the various books.

Sylvan Learning offers a free reading incentive program for children in grades K-8 at It’s fun and it’s free.  Tell Book Adventure what your favorite kinds of books are (science fiction, comedy, mystery, Westerns), whether you like easy or challenging books, and – you can create personalized book lists from more than 7,500 recommended titles, take quizzes on the books and earn prizes!

For more tips and a Valentine’s Day Reading List, visit  You may also call 1-800-31-SUCCESS, or visit us on the web at

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About Sylvan Learning
Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels. With 30 years of experience and more than 900 centers located throughout North America, Sylvan’s proven process and personalized methods have inspired more than 2 million students to discover the joy of learning. Sylvan's trained and Sylvan-certified personal instructors provide individualized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams.  Sylvan helps kids develop the skills, habits and attitudes needed for lifelong success. Visit to share your personal academic experiences and comment on academic trends.  For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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