Just For Parents

Advice and strategies to help your children read

April 29, 2001

This child does well in reading

Released this month, "The Nation's Report Card: Fourth Grade Reading 2000" discusses the results of a national reading assessment that lets us know how and what America's youth is learning. These results help us understand trends in education, and the information also enables teachers, parents and caregivers to become aware about what they can do to prepare children under the age of nine to be better readers by the time they reach fourth grade.

Fourth graders who scored higher on the assessment shared these characteristics:

* They read 11 or more pages each day for school and homework.

* They read for fun on their own every day.

* They reported talking about their reading with family and friends at least weekly.

* They wrote long answers to questions on tests and assignments that involve reading on a weekly or monthly basis.

* They reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedia) in their home.

From crib to classroom, research shows that children are more likely to succeed in their learning when their families actively support them. There is a wealth of free and affordable resource material available to help families instill the love of reading in their kids. Here are just a few:

* For further information on Fourth-Grade Reading 2000, go to the National Assessment of Educational Progress Web site at www.nces.ed.gov / nationsreport card / sitemap.asp. Order the report toll-free at 1-877-433-7827.

* www.ed.gov / pubs / parents. Click on "Helping Your Child Series." These free, informative books are aimed at helping families participate in their child's learning.

* www.familyeducation.com. Make sure your kids are ready with tips and practice tests found here.

* Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. Toll Free: 1-877-RIF-READ or at www.rif.org.

RIF develops and delivers children's and family literacy programs that help prepare young children for reading and motivate school-age children to read.

* "Babies Need Books: Sharing the Joy of Books with Children from Birth to Six" by Dorothy Butler. Discusses the importance of reading to young children and gives summaries of books by age level.

-- Susan Rapp

Village Reading Center

Kids can link up to libraries for stories

Libraries now feature computers with Internet access, but one library that is based entirely on line allows young readers and their parents to "check out" reading material online. Stories are submitted and linked to the site, which in turn categorizes them by age group and subject area. In the Internet Public Library Youth Division, kids can browse through math, science, arts and music -- great resources for those last minute papers! Focusing on the Reading Zone reveals picture books, poetry, myths and fables and tons of other stories at the touch of a keyboard, as well as links to other reading resources and children's literature sites. You can also find out more information about favorite authors. Web sites filled with stories can keep kids reading for hours, instead of surfing and wiping out on the flotsam and jetsam floating just above the surface. Go to www.ipl.org / youth and let the good times begin.

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Children's

Picture Book Best Sellers

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books, and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

1. "Easter Bugs" by David A. Carter (weeks on list: 8)

2. "Oh, the Places You'll Go"

by Dr. Seuss (198)

3. "Olivia" by Ian Falconer (29)

4. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (24)

5. "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" by Doreen Cronin (13)

6. "The Quiltmaker's Gift"

by Jeff Brumbeau (25)

7. "Beatrice's Goat"

by Page McBrier (5)

8. "So You Want to be President?" by Judith St. George (16)

9. "Yay, You!" by Sandra Boynton (2)

10. "Alligator Tales"

by Miles Smeeton (8)

Contact us

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to sun.features@baltsun.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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