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Wednesday, 14 December 2016 21:32

The gift of reading for your kids

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By John Bird, editor

            I don’t know about you, but I remember how excited I used to be to get a book among my presents on Christmas morning. Heck, I still get all fluttery when I see a book-shaped object with my name on it under the tree.

            Each book is a promise that holds a whole new world within its covers, a bigger world than anything you’ll get anywhere else, because it’s not limited by

an artist’s skill or computer-generated graphics, but only by your imagination interpreting the words.

            So I’m joining the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit in inviting you to start a new Christmas tradition—or revive an old one—by giving the children close to you a book this Christmas—and every Christmas.

            It’s part of the Book on Every Bed campaign (familyreading.org/great-ideas/a-book-on-every-bed), to put a book at the foot of the child’s bed every year so it is the first thing he or she sees on Christmas morning. It doesn’t have to be a new one. It can be used, donated or perhaps a cherished one passed down from one generation to the next.

            “Books may seem old-fashioned, but they’re a great way to unplug from electronic devices and spend quality time together as a family,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Family Health Nurse with the unit.

            “Reading together also helps stimulate a child’s speech and language skills, which is critical for future success.”

            Shaughnessy suggests selecting a book that is age-appropriate and appealing for the child. Books with repetitive and rhyming text, as well as plenty of pictures and interactive features such as holes or flaps for lifting, can be a hit with older toddlers and preschoolers, she says. For older children who are less inclined to read, choose a story with an exciting plot that will grab their attention.           

            You can also incorporate reading into other holiday activities. Pick a family favourite book and read it aloud each year; listen to a favourite audio book while baking cookies, driving to visit families or wrapping gifts; and check out and read library books that focus on another culture’s winter celebrations.

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