Parent Hints

You are your child’s first and most important teacher. You play a vital role in developing your child’s attitude about learning and success in reading and thinking skills.

Children learn best when parents are interested and involved in their education. Many parents have found that looking through and reading the newspaper is an easy, enjoyable way to read, talk and think together with their children. Seeing a parent read the newspaper every day motivates a child to want to do the same - read and learn.

The newspaper is both an inexpensive and rich source of information you can share with your child. Use the newspaper to:

• Enjoy a special time with your child

• Learn more about your child’s interests

• Encourage your child’s love for reading and learning

• Reinforce what’s taught in school

Helpful Hints

• Newspapers are great for kids of all ages. Even young children enjoy photographs and comics. Early readers can read the large print in headlines and ads. And what child doesn’t enjoy just talking with a parent? Special time alone together will go a long way to promote positive attitudes toward learning.

• Some days a child may be more interested in reading, while other days a “talk together” activity may be more fun.

• Your understanding of your child’s interests will help you select activities that will be most appealing to your child.

• Newspapers can help build the habit of daily reading in your child. Try to read aloud to your child every day. Ask grandparents, neighbors or older brothers and sisters to help. Ask your child to read something to you.

• Any time you can find time to talk with your children will help develop communication skills. Think about talking with your child while you are doing household chores. You might do this as you wash the dishes, sort the laundry, rake the lawn or wash the car.

• You may want to scale down the newspaper with young children. Do this by using only one section at a time.

• Show off the results of your child’s efforts. Many families have a permanent “art gallery” on the refrigerator door; you might also encourage your child to share projects with grandparents, friends, shut-ins, and neighbors.

• Establish a comfortable place for your newspaper activities. Make clean up a regular part of your newspaper routine.

• Point out parts of the newspaper that may be of special interest to your child. Work together on the Mini-Page.

• Show that reading is important for all members of the family. Keep a variety of reading materials available in your home.

• Use short, frequent periods for the activities, rather than working with your child for occasional, extended periods. If your child shows no interest, try again another day.

Talk, Read, Think Together

Activities for Early Readers

1. Find a newspaper picture that interests both of you. Tell your child, in story form, about what happened in the picture. Stop occasionally and ask, “Then what do you think happened?” Ask your child to make up a different story. Or talk about what might have happened before or after the picture was taken.

2. Cut out some favorite comics. Cut the captions off and ask your child to tell you a story about the pictures. Ask questions like, “Did something like that ever happen to you?” and “What do you think happens next?” Or cut the comic strip into individual pictures and ask your child to put them in order, showing what happened first, second, and third.

3. Look for pictures that show people’s facial expressions and emotions. Look at photos and advertisements. Ask your child how each person feels. Then ask questions like, “What makes you happy?” What makes you sad?” Look for pictures that make your child feel happy and sad. Ask, “Why does this picture make you feel that way?”

4. Look for a picture of a person your child would recognize (the president, a famous athlete, a rock star, a police officer or firefighter, etc.). Talk together about what these people do. You might ask: “Why is this person’s picture in the newspaper? What is happening in the picture?”

5. Read the newspaper’s weather forecast to your child. Look for pictures that illustrate different weather conditions. Look at the forecast for tomorrow and help your child select appropriate clothes to wear. Or use the weather map to learn more about weather in other places, for example, “What is the weather like where Grandpa lives?”

Activities for Experienced Readers

1. Ask your child to cut out a picture of a famous athlete, movie star, politician, or other person he or she would like to meet. Ask, “What would say to this person? What do you think the person would say to you?”

2. Find a story or picture of a group of people who need help (for example, victims of a fire or flood, the homeless, people in a hospital). Talk about ways your family might help by spending time, sharing talents or even contributing money.

3. Look through the classified employment section with your child. Find jobs held by family, friends, and neighbors - teacher, secretary, construction worker, messenger, driver. Read and talk about the kind of duties these positions require. Ask your child to find a few positions he/she would enjoy. Ask why.

4. Look through your newspaper for a review of a movie that would interest your child. Read and discuss it together. Ask, “Does this sound like a movie we would enjoy?” “Why do your think you would like it?” “Have you seen other movies or television shows ore read any books that sound similar?”

5. Find stories in the newspaper that express two different points of view. Talk about the issue from both points of view. Ask if your child feels strongly about one of the positions.

6. Select an editorial that treats a problem that may have some effect on your family. Determine the opinion of the newspaper on the problem. Discuss the opinion of members of the family on the issue.