Children start developing listening skills at birth. Your baby begins to hear sounds, they are startled by loud noises and they begin to recognize familiar voices. Soon afterwards, they start to understand language and can speak and participate in conversations. You can help your child build and develop these skills.
Have you been wondering about ways to keep your child engaged in learning over the summer? This is an important question to ask because summer learning has been found to be important for children. The term, "summer slide", is often used to describe what happens to children over the summer months when they are not actively engaged in learning. All too often teachers assess the reading levels of students at the end of a school year and then when these same students are reassessed at the beginning of the next school year (after the summer), the reading levels of the children have decreased. Children are then faced with the task of not only improving their reading within the given school year, but also making up for lost time. The children are playing catch up. If the child does not catch up, he/she starts to have a learning gap in comparison to their same aged peers. This is called the achievement gap.
Parental involvement is associated with student achievement in elementary, middle, and high school. This connection includes varied indicators of achievement and the development of student attributes that support achievement, such as self-efficacy for learning, perceptions of personal control over school outcomes, and self-regulatory skills and knowledge (Green, Walker, Hoover-Dempsey, & Sandler, 2007). Parental involvement encourages positive academic experiences for children and has positive effects on the self-development of parents and parenting skills (Hill & Taylor, 2004). Not only does parent involvement include communicating with the teacher, volunteering at the school, assisting with homework, and attending school functions, but it also includes staying academically engaged with them over the summer months.
Seven easy ways to keep the learning alive during the summer:
Green, C., Walker, J., Hoover-Dempsey, K., & Sandler, H. (2007). Parents' Motivation for involvement in children's education: An empirical test of a theoretical model of parental involvement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 532-544.
Hill, N. & Taylor, L. (2004). Parental school involvement and children's academic achievement. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 161-164.
Reading is critical to academic success, and reading aloud is a proven way to improve a child’s reading ability. That’s why Virginia Beach Public Libraries (VBPL) created the Pawsitive Reading program. The program is based on the concept that therapy dogs make a great audience for children who are hesitant to read aloud in front of others. Minus the occasional “woof,” the dogs are the best listeners. And best of all, they don’t judge or correct a child when he or she reads.
Library staff have seen shy, reluctant readers blossom once they get hooked up with a canine pal. As children’s reading skills improve, they become excited about this past time and their self-confidence soars.
Pawsitive Reading with therapy dogs is available for children in kindergarten through 5th grade who want to improve their reading skills. Children may bring their own books to share or read books provided by the library. For information on the Pawsitive Reading program near you, contact your local library or visit the VBPL website for a list of events.
Looking for a good book or a movie? Find the newest books, movies and more at your local library. The Library has several tools available to help children conduct research for school projects or just for fun. Some of the newest tools allow visitors to learn about topics from the comfort of their own home. All you need is a library card, which you can get at any Virginia Beach Public Library location.
Meets the research needs of students in kindergarten through grade 5. It features a developmentally appropriate, visually graphic interface, a subject-based topic tree search and full-text, age-appropriate, curriculum-related magazine, newspaper and reference content for information on current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history, sports and more. Search this database from home.
The Virginia Beach Public Library offers free, downloadable E-books and audiobooks so kids can enjoy great books at home or on the go.
Research shows that early experiences with books and stories are critically linked to a child’s success in learning to read. Reading with your baby for just a few minutes each day is important. Be sure to cuddle and make the experience a positive one – this will lead to your baby's future interest in learning to read on her own.
You can teach your baby how a book “works” by showing where the book begins and moving your finger left to right as you read. Your baby may seem more interested in your face or prefer to crawl around rather than sit still, which is discouraging to many parents. Giving your baby a toy to hold may help her stay put and prevent her from grabbing the book while you are reading.
Babies see books as toys and will chew, throw and drool upon them. This helps them feel more comfortable with books. To prevent damage, give babies and toddlers “board books,” which are made of stiff, thick cardboard pages that can’t be torn.
Not every board book title is appropriate for babies. Look for these qualities in a board book:
Remember, young children learn best with repetition. Reread favorite books to your baby over again and again.
Songs and music accompany many aspects of a child’s daily life. From television jingles and theme songs to bedtime lullabies like twinkle, twinkle, little star… nursery rhymes like this old man… and even the ring of the ice cream truck, there is a song or melody around every corner.
Music and singing make us feel good, signaling our bodies to release endorphins which stimulate our brains. These endorphins help us boost our memory, increase alertness, enhance motor skills and coordination, expand our imagination and express ourselves through language.
Songs and singing help lay the foundation for language development and other early literacy skills. Songs help children break words into syllables, or smaller units of sound. This supports phonological awareness, the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. Songs and music create a natural bridge to learning how to read!
Try these activities and recordings with your child:
: Bringing together City, Schools, and the Community for
a common mission.
GrowSmart’s mission is to promote and improve the
healthy development, school readiness, and reading
proficiency of young children, ages 0-8, in Virginia
This site was designed to provide information and resources for Virginia Beach parents, caregivers,and teachers of young children, ages 0-8.
The site is also intended for our community stakeholders who wish to find out more about the City of Virginia Beach’s early learning efforts and how you can get involved.
Address: 4525 Main Street Suite 700 Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Phone: (757) 385-0144
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| The City of Virginia Beach