Fredericksburg Parent

May 2014

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12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • May 2014 Early Investment: Great Returns! FREDERICKSBURG PARENT: What is the most important thing parents can do to get their children ready for kindergarten? Mr. Benson (King George): Reading to your youngster is an excellent way to help build vocabulary in preparation for kindergarten. Dr. Killough (Caroline): Parents need to take 30 minutes a day to read to their children. They should introduce them to libraries and other early education programs. Dr. Benson (Stafford): Read, read and read some more. FP: What is the biggest demographic change you've seen in the last three years in children entering kindergarten? Dr. Baker (Spotsylvania): We've seen an increase in chil- dren living in poverty and children who are developmen- tally delayed. We've also seen a spike in ESOL students— both refugees and Hispanic. Dr. Killough: The children coming from the Smart Beginnings programs have benefitted from the strong structure. These children are the leaders who model good behavior for the other children. BY MARY BECELIA Sources of Literary Engagement Libraries! Check with your local branch for story times led by librarians and take home a bag of books to enjoy between visits. Swap. Arrange a book swap for the books your child is tired of with friends/preschool classmates. Everyone wins with "new" free books! Shop Discount. Thrift shops such as Goodwill have varying selections of kid's books and Riverby Books downtown has an eclectic selection of gently used books at reasonable prices. Book Fairs. If you don't mind driving, the Green Valley Book Fair is open for a couple of weeks each month and is phenomenal for great selection and low prices ( Reading Time. Have your "big" kid (if you have one) read to your "little." Great learning opportunity for both! FP: What kind of improvements would you like to see in early childhood education that would benefit children? Mrs. Marceline Catlett (Fredericksburg): Presently, our Head Start, Virginia Preschool Initiative and Early Childhood Special Education Programs are doing an excellent job. R eading to your child, what could be easier? And it has huge proven benefits. If you have time to do only one thing to help prepare your child for success in school and in life it is this: read to them. Fredericksburg Parent spoke with the superintendents and deputy superintendents Fredericksburg City and Spotsylvania, Caroline and Stafford Counties on the importance of early intervention, early childhood education and reading. "The secret (to a better life) lies in the reading…Every day you must read one page from some good book to your child. Every day this must be until the child learns to read. Then she must read every day. I know this is the secret." ~ From A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

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