Monday, December 12, 2016

Reading To Your Child Is the Key to Happiness

I remember it as if it were yesterday, laying on my bed next to my wife, opening the book, and talking in soft tones to my wife's bare stomach while I watched for it to move. I read it my favorite book from childhood, Bears In The Night and wondered if when I raised my voice at the top of Spook Hill if it had any effect on the baby's movement in that moment. Was our baby responding to my voice?

Reading to a child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Literacy begins with hearing words before seeing them. It evolves into recognition of letters and patterns, sounds and juxtaposition. It's also about closeness and love. Sitting on your daddy's lap, snuggled up with your back pressed against him sometimes under a blankie. Listening to the sweet tones of your mother's voice while the stars start to emerge from the night.

Reading brings us closer. Remember your grandmother pointing out the words with her finger and hearing your grandpa's laughter at the funny parts? Or feverishly unwrapping a present from your aunt to discover a book she loved as a little girl that she shared with you. Or reading the inscription your uncle scrawled in the front inside cover before you were even born. How about sitting on the couch with older cousins or siblings while they remember when they used to have it read to them? Books are magical things that bring us closer together for so many reasons.

All the pregnancy books told us it was the way to go. Babies hear their moms from the womb, mothers have that advantage in close proximity to the child at all times while dads have to try a little bit harder to be heard. That's why I started to read to them, to get them to know my voice. I just never stopped reading to them because of the way it makes me feel.

It's the same reason I love to volunteer in my kids' classrooms. I love to pick out a book I think they will enjoy and see their reactions to it. I love to see and hear kids discovering new things. It is in part, a reason why I became a public school teacher. I love to help kids learn. I live for the light I see in their faces when they see something I never would have seen.

When our son was born someone gave us a subscription to Babybug. A publication from Cricket Media, Babybug is full of poetry, stories, rhymes, and colorful illustrations that I would read to my children before bedtime and anytime. The rounded edges and thickened cardboard cover made them durable and portable. We kept some in the diaper bag just in case a waiting room didn't have anything or the kids needed a quick story before a nap.

Many of the issues we saved and still sit on their shelves like those old Reader's Digests that our grandparents just couldn't give up because the articles spoke to them.  The ones we still have are battered from overuse, covers ripped unceremoniously from the two staples that hold it together and edges frayed or maybe chewed on by emerging teeth. All of those words are meaningful to us.

Reading to your children makes a difference in their lives. It prepares them for success later in life. The more they read, the more they absorb, their minds becoming like ever-expanding sponges. This is why it is important to make sure that every child is read to.

Cricket Media is partnering with Libraries Without Borders and The Parent-Child Home Program this holiday season to ensure that children who are under-resourced get a chance to build on their literacy. It's called "Double The Giving" and this is how it works: Purchase a subscription for your child or a child you know this December and you will also deliver the gift of reading to a child in an underserved community. Choose any subscription from Cricket Media like Babybug (Ages 6 mo.-3), Ladybug (ages 3-6), Spider (Ages 6-9), or Cricket (Ages 9-11) and they will donate a subscription to a child in need.

To order a subscription and to gift the gift of reading to a child you know and to help others you don't ORDER HERE . You can also enter below for your chance at a FREE One Year Subscription to one Cricket Media publication of your choice either Babybug, Ladybug, Spider, or Cricket.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on Cricket Media, Libraries Without Borders, or The Parent-Child Home Program, see the information below:

About Cricket Media
Cricket Media is an education media company that provides award-winning content on a safe and secure learning network for children, families and teachers across the world.  Cricket Media's 11 popular media brands for toddlers to teens include Babybug®, Ladybug®, Cricket™ and Cobblestone™.  The Company's innovative web-based K12 tools for school and home include the ePals community and virtual classroom for global collaboration as well as In2Books®, an e-Mentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Cricket Media serves millions of teachers, students and parents in over 200 countries and territories through its platform and NeuPals, its joint venture with China's leading IT services company Neusoft. Cricket Media also licenses its content and platform to top publishing and educational companies worldwide.  For more information, please visit

About Libraries Without Borders
Libraries Without Borders (LWB) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to facilitating the growth of libraries in the developing world. Currently active in 20 different countries, LWB recognizes that access to knowledge is a key factor in social and economic development. By facilitating the growth of libraries across the globe, LWB aims to provide the knowledge that is the engine of human development. Libraries Without Borders and Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF) form an international network of organizations working together to promote knowledge-based development in under-served regions of the world.

About Parent-Child Home Program
The Parent-Child Home Program supports under-resourced families in preparing their young children for school success, by combining intensive home visits with weekly gifts of books and educational materials.  Early-literacy specialists model good practices to educate parents about the importance of parent-child interaction, give them the tools needed to inculcate early literacy skills in their children, and encourage them to see themselves as active participants in their children's educations.  In this program, community-based early learning specialists visit participating families twice a week for two years.  When families complete the program, the staff helps parents enroll their children in quality preschools or kindergartens.  The program has been replicated in 400 high-need communities in 14 states and in Chile, Canada, Ireland and Bermuda. 

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