Did you know that simply reading to your child is one of the best things you can do for his or her education? It’s much more valuable than just as a bedtime sleep inducer! Reading aloud to children does the following:

• Helps them hear language in new and different ways.

• Gives them a sense of chronology.

• Leads to better performance in reading, writing, listening, and other school subjects.

• Creates a bond between the reader and the child, facilitating a special memory association between reading and a happy experience.

• Turns many children into life-long readers, and a life-long reader is a life-long learner!

1. Read every day, even if you only have a few minutes. This show your child that daily reading is an important part of each day. Children also love a pleasant routine. They will look forward to this special time.

2. Create a cozy place to read together. It can be a special chair, or even a pile of pillows.

3. Let your child help you choose what book to read. This will help you keep the child’s interest, and it makes him feel important. Visiting a library regularly makes choosing books easy and fun.

4. Talk about the cover. Have your child guess what the book is about. Who are the characters? What is the title? Who is the author? Have you read books by this author before? Have you seen this illustrator before?

5. Change your voice to go with the characters and the action. You don’t have to be an actor, but you can at least change your inflection for a livelier storytelling experience. Make sure you don’t read too quickly, too. You don’t want to sound like you’re rushing to finish.

6. Show the pictures as you read. Not only do the pictures help a child understand and connect to the book, the illustrations often add humor and whimsy to fiction.

7. After you read the book, talk about the story. Go back and look at the pictures again and talk about what happened. Point out any hard words to see if your child can figure out what they mean by looking at the surrounding words and pictures.

8. Try to make connections to something in the story and your life or the child’s life.

9. Be sure to prompt your child to critique the book. Ask questions such as, What did you like? What did you dislike? What made you laugh? What did you learn?

10. Vary the genres that you read. Mix fiction and nonfiction. A child’s future favorite book might be in a genre he or she has not yet experienced!

Dance has been my life for almost 50 years. Performing, and teaching, ballet is what I do... what I did. I had no plans to retire anytime soon, but June of 2016, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a neurological, degenerative, movement disease. I won't be dancing for very much longer if at all. I am losing control of my arms & legs, my muscles are stiffening up, & my sense of balance has ceased to exist. I’ve tied my last pair of pointe shoe ribbons. I now "dance" & "choreograph" through video. Ballet dancer Sergei Polunin is my favorite subject. Videos like "Take Me To Church" and "Make Love Not Walls" helped rocket him into superstar status. Unfairly or not, he was deemed the "Bad Boy of Ballet" because of his off stage antics & multiple tattoos soon after becoming the youngest principal dancer ever at the Royal Ballet. Growing up under a microscope proved difficult, however, he's emerged on the other side a veritable supernova!

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions? I'd love to hear from you!

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