10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Reading

School’s almost out and summer is approaching, which means parents now having the daunting task of keeping their kids entertained – a task that can be challenging regardless of budget. Most parents want their kids to have a summer not only filled with fun, but also tidbits of education. Reading is one of the most important skills your child should maintain between school years. Foster your child’s bookworm habits with the following simple activities and tips that make reading fun (these are also great for adults, too):

1. Read Mom’s Favorites to Them: Mix up your school-year routine during the summer and have kids read parents a bedtime story. Create a list of your favorite childhood reads and check them out of the library. Have your child read the stories aloud to you and then discuss whether the book will become one of their favorites and why.

2. Read the Book, See the Movie: Use your child’s love of watching movies over the summer to encourage them to read. Explore the concepts of character and plot by discussing who was in the movie – the “good guys” and “not-so-good-guys” – and what they did. Talk about how the book and the movie differed.

3. Have a Book-Themed Celebration: Plan a¬† series of little parties or events with your child throughout the summer that relate to the books they read. Don’t treat reading like a task that needs rewarding, but put a few special nights on the calendar to enhance their reading experiences during summer vacation.

4. Write a Star’s Biography: Does your child have a favorite celebrity or sports hero? Help your younger child learn the concept of biographies by researching and writing a short one on their favorite singer, athlete, movie star, etc. With your older child, try a role-playing activity where they’re a newspaper reporter and you are the celebrity they have to interview for an article they are writing.

5. “Read This for Me!”: As adults, we take everyday reading skills for granted, absorbing menus and weather reports without thinking twice. Encourage your child to practice their reading during these casual encounters with words. Ask your little one to identify letters or short words on street signs. Have your older child read cooking instructions or newspaper headlines to you. Kids love opportunities to model adults, and these “grown-up” chances to read can expand their vocabulary beyond their school curriculum.

6. Read E-books or Books Online: Kindles, Nooks, and iPads aren’t only catching on with adults. Children also love high-tech e-book readers, especially during long trips. WeGiveBooks.org offers free children’s picture books you can read on your computer, tablet, or other mobile Web device. Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com also allows you to download classic literature for free.

7. Be a Pen Pal: Writing letters is becoming a lost art. Children of any age can keep in touch with a relative or friend by writing letters or postcards about their summer adventures. Help your younger child sound out and spell tough words; give older children grammar and spelling edits. The best part of sending fun snail mail will be getting some in return – hopefully!

8. Star in a Play: Whether your child joins a theater program this summer or just dabbles in drama at home, reading and attempting to memorize a simple script is a wonderful way to expand their mind and interest in the arts. You can find free plays for children at FreePlays.org. Puppet theater is a fun way to get your younger child to come out of their shell and practice reading aloud.

9. Have Family Mad Libs Night: Summer is a great time for family game nights, and Mad Libs are a fun grammar activity that anyone ages 9 and up will love playing. Mad Libs are books full of silly fill-in-the-blank stories that help kids learn adjectives, verbs, nouns, exclamations, and other parts of speech. Modify it for your younger child by simply asking for action words, or a person, place, or thing to complete the tale.

10. Keep a Summer Journal: The summer is full of adventures worth writing about. Buy a notebook for your child to use as a travel journal or everyday diary. If they’re computer savvy or artsy, have her take digital photos and write captions to create an online slideshow of her summer fun. Journaling is a great way to reinforce the five W’s of story-telling, used in school reports. Keep a journal every summer, and they’ll have a special keepsake – and a great record of how their writing has improved since the previous year.

Happy reading everyone! We hope these tips make your summer one of fantasy and adventure!

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Quick Tips for Relieving Allergies!

Allergies are no fun! Below are some tips to help fight ’em off!

Sniffing. Sneezing. Itching. Allergies can definitely make you miserable. Whether it’s dust, animal dander, trees, grass or weeds that triggers your allergies, there are ways to fight back. Here are some solutions:

1. Try over-the-counter medication.For nasal symptoms, an antihistamine such as Allegra, Claritin or Zyrtec may help. Check with your physician first if you’re taking other medication that may interact.

2. Use sinus rinses. Nasal irrigation can work wonders to clear up congestion. For some, using a saltwater solution with a Neti pot brings relief.

3. Know your enemy. A physician can use blood or skin tests and look at your medical history to identify your allergy triggers.

4. Reduce your sensitivity. Once you know what causes your symptoms, you can reduce your exposure. If you have sever allergies, your physician may recommend shots that decrease your immune response to certain triggers.

It is highly recommended by physicians that you should seek medical help if you have allergy symptoms more than three or four times a week and/or frequently use allergy medications.