Monday, February 23, 2009

1000 Stories

No... this post has nothing to do with Scherhazade and 1000 Arabian nights. It is has to do with learning to read.

In Reading Magic, Mem Fox reports that recent studies have shown that children need to be read 1000 stories before they are ready to learn to read. At first, that may seem quite daunting, but really, it is VERY doable. If you read one story each day, 1000 stories takes less than 3 years. If you are starting to panic because you have a four year old that you haven't read to much, there is no need to fret. You can do it in one year if you read 3 stories each day.

Why? Because when children are read to consistently they eventually discover that those black shapes on the page represent the words their parents are saying. Then, they discover those words are made up of letters. They can start to recognize words and individual letters. They understand that they need to interpret these letters and words to be able to read and they develop a desire to read.

But, again... it isn't only about desire. The more familiar they are with printed text, how stories work, etc. the EASIER it is for them to learn to read.

Mem Fox suggests that parents ALWAYS read three stories to their children: One favorite, one familiar, and one new. What great advice.

I've been thoroughly enjoying Reading Magic and will share more information from this excellent book. For more on Mem Fox, visit To see my children's favorite book by Mem Fox, click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nursery Rhymes and the 3 "Rs"

It is super important for kids to be exposed to (and to memorize) nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes are also often frequently called "Mother Goose Rhymes." This is because nursery rhymes contain the three "rs" and no it isn't reading, writing, and 'rithmitic.
  • Rhyme
  • Rhythm
  • Repition

Those "Rs" lay the foundation for a child to be able to learn phonics. If you have a new baby, a toddler or preschooler, or even a kindergartner or first grader NOW is the time to teach your child some nursery rhymes.

I'll share more on nursery rhymes later.