General Tips for Reading with Children:

  • Read with feeling and emotion.
  • Pause in areas for children to guess what might come next. (How can Gopher Help bring life back to the mountain?--Gopher to the Rescue!)
  • Make it a routine – at bedtime, rest time, (Animals are Sleeping, Fur and Feathers, Water Beds: Sleeping in the Ocean, and River Beds: Sleeping in the World’s Rivers will gently lull your little one to sleep) or at different times of the day, instead of watching TV.
  • Have books available – always! It doesn’t matter if they are your books or library books.
  • Make library trips a regular event – every time you go to the grocery store or each week on a particular day.
  • Go to story times at local libraries or bookstores.
  • Be silly – relate books to activities you can do outside reading.. (Like "Building Your Own Beaver Dam"--Three Little Beavers.)
  • Going to the zoo? Read a book about going to the zoo before going. Ask the child(ren) what animals they remember from the book that they see at the zoo. (What's New at the Zoo? works like a charm!)
  • After reading a book, go back and look at the illustrations. Often illustrators have things hidden in the art for children to find! (Laurie Allen Klein's Illustrations in Meet the Planets and Fur and Feathers have a lot of hidden images.)
  • Older children? Have them read to younger children—even if it’s just a wordless book and they “tell” the story.
  • Set an example! Be a reader yourself, and let your child see you reading. Maybe even have quiet family reading time instead of watching TV.
  • With older children, read books together. Go back and read the classics (Lord of the Rings, etc.), novels that have been made into films (Star Wars, Harry Potter), or the newest young adult novels.

Tips for Reading with Infants & Toddlers:

  • Start when they are just born (or even while pregnant…). Select fun-to-read, rhythmic stories. They won’t understand the words, but they’ll feel the rhythm. You could even read a book or magazine aloud while holding an infant! (Try the rhythmic Arbordale release Hey Diddle Diddle.)
  • Board books should be in the toy box.
  • Have toddlers help turn pages.
  • Wordless books are great for toddlers and preschoolers to make up their own stories about what’s happening. Let them “read” to you.

Tips for Slightly Older Children Learning to Read:

  • Start to follow words with your finger as you read so children begin to understand that the words say something, that we read from left to right, and how to turn pages.
  • Books with repetitive phrases are good for children to chime in and repeat with you; they’ll begin to anticipate the phrase. (Fall 2012 new release The Tree That Bear Climbedfeatures this great repetition.)

Tips for Older Children Already Starting to Read:

  • Don’t give up on the nightly routine of reading – have child read one page, and you read the next.
  • As they become stronger readers, have them read to you, but save the longer, chapter books for you to read to them.
  • Use closed captioning when kids are watching TV and use subtitles on DVDs.

Tips for Developing Early Math Skills:

  • Count – constantly. Ask “how many” or use numbers. (For example: “Here is one scoop of ice cream for you and one for mommy. That’s two scoops of ice cream!” Arbordale’s Ten For Me is perfect for these kinds of activities.)
  • After reading a book, go back and count things in the illustrations. How many animals are there or how many times do you see the main character?
  • Baking is a great math activity:
    • count items that go into the recipe (Ex: “two eggs”)
    • use the phrases of ½ or ¾ teaspoon or cup
    • let the children measure items and put them into the bowl (oh, and definitely accept that there may be messes…)
  • Sorting – have children sort items (Sort It Out! is just what the math teacher ordered!)
    • By types of toys
    • By colors
    • Have older children sort money (helps them learn coins)
    • Sort Halloween candy by type
    • Sort M&Ms by colors

General Parenting Tips for Educating Children:

  • Talk to your children constantly – even infants. 
  • Explain what you are doing (Ex: “I am changing your diaper.”)
  • Relate things to what the children understand. For example, if something will take an hour and they like watching a half-hour TV show, explain that it will take as long as “two Dora the Explorer shows.”
  • Limit the amount of TV time for children under two--children that young do not comprehend even "educational" programing yet.


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