a gift that lasts a lifetime

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]I introduced reading to my daughter at an early age.  Perhaps it is because of my line of business, but I have witnessed firsthand how reading creates a strong foundation for children. Word recognition, comprehension abilities, listening skills and self-confidence building are all fostered through the reading experience.   It is a proven fact that children who develop a love for books and reading have a better chance at success in school and in later life.

That’s why storylinePR is supporting the Ottawa Citizen Raise-a-Reader campaign whose goal is to increase awareness and raise money for children’s literacy programs in Ottawa.   This years’ Ottawa Citizen Raise a Reader Day is scheduled for Wednesday, September 29, 2010.  All funds will to be distributed to charities with family literacy programs through the Ottawa Citizen Literacy Foundation through the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

For me, I find the greatest benefit is in the parent/child reading experience itself.  It comes from the cuddle, the bonding, the joy of the moment and witnessing the learning process.  If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can understand that sentiment. No matter how crazy my business is, I always take time to ready to my daughter, every single day.  Instilling a love of reading in a child is giving them a gift which will last a lifetime!

keeping me on my toes

Independence strikes! From the top of Madeline’s little head to the tip of her pointed toes. 

When I took Madeline to her second ballet class this past Saturday, she was thrilled to learn ballet lessons were going to be a part of her weekend routine.  We arrived about five minutes early to an empty studio, with the exception of the pianist who was warming up.  Maddy took her spot on the floor and whispered to me, “it’s ok – you can go now, Mom.”  Only her second class and here she is, fluffing me off for the guy at the piano. I was proud of the little independent person she had suddenly become, where just one week ago, I had to continually assure her of how much fun she was going to have with each unconvinced glance.  I told her that I would wait until other kids and their mommies showed up and then I would go.  With her hands on her hips and the most serious stance, she gave me a disapproving look which followed with her mouthing the words, “I’m ok – Mom!  I have to practice – now, go!” and boldly pointed me to the door. Yikes!  Is this what they mean by an “independent streak”?  

Chuckling to myself, I respectfully walked out of the studio, took a seat in the hall and opened my notebook as I watched other mother and daughter teams arrive with their little ones clutching their sides.  I must tell you, I had mixed emotions.  I was so proud that she felt comfortable enough to go it alone this time, yet admittedly, was a bit saddened. I began to document the whole experience to paper, as I do with most of our little “milestones” and a wonderful thing happened.  The same wonderful thing that happens with each little burst of creative expression from my four year old.  The next story for Storyline for kids unfolded with “My First Ballet Step” – about a little girl who gains her independence and self-confidence. But it doesn’t end there.  For the past few nights, our bedtime ritual concludes with a narrative story – and this time it begins with – “Once upon a time, there was a little ballerina named Madeline…” I’m not sure how this one is going to end, but I do know that with Madeline’s input – it’s sure to be a page turner as she always seems to keep me on my toes.

dangling the reading carrot

I created a new group on facebook the other day called “the gift that lasts a lifetime.” 

I have had the fortune of having Madeline dive into reading head first, but I am always looking for more fun ways to continually encourage the good habit we have developed together.  I created this group is for parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and anyone who has children in their lives who value the importance literacy. It is a venue to share their thoughts, reflect on their own parent-child reading experiences and contribute ideas on how to create unique and creative ways to enjoy story time together.  I have posted it to all my friends who have kids, on other “mom” like groups in hopes that I would have more participation from like minded individuals.  I am sad to report that I have not had many join the group.  In fact, I have had only one person join in the last 24 hours. 

In my latest discussion topic, dandling the reading carrot, I decided to dangle a little carrot of my own by starting a contest.  Those who join and post an answer to this topic on to how to make reading fun, will be entered into a draw to win this years’ Storyline for kids seasonal story – “A Dreamy Adventure with Santa” for their child this Christmas – plus a personalized letter from Santa. (A $25 value). 

 

One of the benefits of the creation of storyline for kids is that it encourages Madeline to read.  Surely, moms will see the value of sharing creative and unique ways to do the same.  Doesn’t anyone value literacy any more?  Has the digital age really replaced good old fashioned reading habits?  Have we forgone the importance of reading and what it can do for young minds? 

connecting the dots

Every parent can appreciate the strong foundation for the school years that reading at home creates for the preschooler. Word recognition, comprehension abilities, and listening skills are all fostered through the parent – child reading experience. The greatest benefit of preschool reading is in the experience itself. It comes from the cuddle, the bonding, the joy of the moment and the learning process. Parent-to-parent, I’m sure you can understand that sentiment. I have witnessed evidence to support this with my three year old daughter, Madeline.

Madeline enjoyed reading stories and would beam with joy when I changed the main character’s name to her own name. Creative writing is my business, so I began spinning new stories for Madeline with all her favorite things woven into each adventure. It makes learning entertaining because she is reading about herself, her friends and family making it a unique and fun experience. She has benefited tremendously and enjoys story time more than ever! Originally created for Madeline as the star of the story, they encourage her to read with my input into positive, healthy and wholesome messaging. Instead of providing these stories just to my Madeline, I wanted to broaden my enjoyment and share these stories for other parents to experience with their own children… and shortly after – Storyline for kids was born.

I read a commencement address some time ago made to students of Stanford by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios that really hit home. If you haven’t read it – I suggest you google it – well worth the read. He spoke about his life experiences and one story in particular was about how you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards into past events. Who knew when I created these stories for Madeline that they would naturally evolve into my business and be such a huge hit for parents. I have created three stories so far and intend to create many more. At the time, I figured any extra incentive which can encourage Madeline to enjoy reading had to be positive. But now looking back and connecting the dots – it all makes sense now. A truly a humbling experience.

Like the address Steve Jobs made, I will leave you with one parting thought… No matter how busy your business life is, remember the importance of the reading experience and PLEASE READ WITH YOUR CHILD! Instilling a love of reading in a child is giving them a gift which will last a lifetime!