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Be a Hero — Read Together Daily; check out Read Ready Covington’s activities coming up

By Mary Kay Connolly
Read Ready Covington

Dad taught me to value reading and learning. He left Holmes High School at 16 when his dad died, going to work to support his mom and two sisters. Much later, after his service in WWII, he earned his GED diploma. Dad’s quiet persistence set a strong example for his nine children. Many family dinners included pulling out the encyclopedia to look up information, developing our ability to support an argument or explain a topic. Through example, families model curiosity, motivation, persistence, and a purpose for reading.

We know reading is vital for children and adults all 12 months of the year. In fact, we know that reading to/with children beginning at birth helps strengthen the pathways of the brain and builds the cognitive “muscles” needed to be a successful learner.

We also know that before children step foot in any center or education program, their family and community have influenced many of their beliefs about themselves and their abilities, both positive and negative.

Families set expectations for their children, reinforcing those expectations daily through communication and experiences. In fact, many researchers have shown how important it is for children to hear daily positive messages about their capacity to achieve and recognition of emerging strengths. In addition, kids need regular practice and motivation to master foundational knowledge and skills.

Practice also leads to progress when communities value and support each child’s potential. The City of Covington, through the Read Ready Coalition, is investing in children’s early futures along with families, Covington Independent Public Schools, Covington Partners, and many more partners.

Our collective goals are:

• More children enter kindergarten ready to be successful students.

• More students complete third grade reading at or above grade level.

There is hope and progress in Covington. Third grade reading scores in Covington Independent Public Schools demonstrated a 9.4% increase in the last five years. Together, we can and must continue this positive trend. Each child’s success really does rest upon all of us.

Start today with strategies at home:

• Make regular eye contact during conversations. Speak clearly and with expansive vocabulary to build language.

• Maximize positive acknowledgements. Cultivate motivation to explore and learn.

• Include fun learning activities daily; take a walk and name or spell what you observe, use a new “Word of the Day,” or trace letters in sugar or flour as a multisensory activity.

• Create cozy reading rituals using Shared Reading.

• Make up stories together. (Hint: Children love stories where they are the main characters.)

• Prepare for preschool and kindergarten as a rite of passage. Make a game out of learning their full legal name and birthdate, parent full names, or reciting the alphabet.

• Practice following directions and cooperating with others at all ages. See developmental milestone lists HERE.
• Watch THIS VIDEO to learn about free online resources available to Covington families. Footsteps2Brilliance and Clever Kids University are two FREE apps that include songs, stories, skill games, and writing for children ages 3-9. Access both apps HERE and download to a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. Use just 15 minutes/5 days a week with free City public Wi-Fi, and your child’s reading skills and comprehension will improve.

• Utilize Little Free Libraries with free storybooks; they are located in locations throughout Covington.

• Visit the the Kenton County Public Library for learning activities that support curiosity, reading, persistence, and fun!

On April 10 from 1-4 p.m., families with young children can join in Alphabet Walks with passport companion activities. Prizes, free snacks, and storytelling will take place at two locations (Barb Cook Park and Prince of Peace School). Watch THIS VIDEO to learn more about Read Ready Covington Walking Tours and Passport Scavenger Hunts. Click HERE for an invite to Alphabet Walks on April 10.

Here is the invitation for the Alphabet Walks:

Mary Kay Connolly is director of Read Ready Covington. For more information: info@readreadycov.com 

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