Tuesday, March 04, 2008

DID YOU KNOW? March is National Reading Month

In case you needed a reason to read a book, here it is:

arch is National Reading Month!

In honor of that reality, here's a photo of my son while very young sharing a good read with a good school buddy. I love this photo for so many reasons....

I'm a big supporter of reading for all children (and for adults) and I believe the earlier we begin the process of reading to them (think brain development), the greater the benefits. I especially believe in the value of reading to kids with special needs, regardless of a diagnosis (again, think brain development). You have no idea how this kind of effort may impact your child is positive ways down the road. Try to give it your best shot, no matter how tough.

My son and I spent hours reading books from the beginning of his life, from Mercer Mayer to Dr. Seuss, to Sesame Street to Captain Underpants, to books about rockstars and guitars and the solar system. Early on, Eric wiggled and squirmed and seemed unable to be easily immersed in the magic of words and pictures. But with time, persistance, maturity, (and adding lots of fun), reading soon became one of our favorite things to do together.

In fact, once Eric learned that I could do the voices of Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and Barney, and also mix up all the crazy Dr. Seuss rhymes and make up great kids' tales, reading became an exciting adventure that was never boring.

To my son, I was the coolest mom in the land.

Eric grew to love books as much as his big sister, Jenna, mainly because we didn't deny him the chance to experience reading because of his cerebral palsy. Today, I believe strongly that our commitment to reading to both of our children had positive impact on their development in many ways.

Plus, it was a great way for us to escape the on-going daily demands of addressing Eric's special needs and just be together, mother and child. I will always treasure those priceless moments and memories reading with both of my children.

Special Note: I know it's tough, if not impossible, to read to your kids if you're struggling with your own literacy issues. The good news is there is help available, so what are you waiting for!! Seek out the support you need; then watch your own world (and that of your children) open up in big ways. There are some terrific resources to help you make that magic happen.

Here's a good place to start: National Institute for Literacy: http://www.nifl.gov/

Now give all those hi-tech gadgets a rest, turn off the TV, and go pick up a book and READ!!

It will change your life, and the lives of your children.

No technology required.

Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations

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