Everybody knows that reading and writing proficiently can enrich a Student’s life in and out of school.
Nowadays, the popularity of computers, iPads and tablets have underscored the critical need to be literate. Keeping this in mind, it’s time to learn about five great and inexpensive ways to improve literacy and language skills. And not surprisingly, you will find these suggestions also work just as well for adults!
Just stop by any toy store and you will see dozens upon dozens of board games like Banana grams, Mad Gab, and Scrabble. Each of these games is not only a great way to have fun with your friends the next time you get together but they’re also a fantastic way to take the stress out of learning new words. These games give teens and adults a chance to socialize in a healthy manner and they give children the ability to bond with other kids in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. So, the next time your kids have friends over to play, grab a board game sit them around the table and serve pizza. They are in for loads of fun, some satisfying fun food, and loads of learning, laughter, and fun.
In middle school and high school kids can sign up for forensics, which is competitive public speaking. Adults can join clubs such as Toastmasters, or take an introductory free class from Dale Carnegie. These groups will help improve overall communication skills. Everybody knows that before you stand up in front of an audience to deliver a speech you have to do some research first. That means gathering materials, reading them, and sifting through them to find your talking points. Then it’s a matter of stringing them together, and writing to make a smooth speech. Other skills such as critical thinking, presenting and debating will also be sharpened. These clubs provide a social outlet and supportive community that will provide constructive feedback which leads to nothing but improvement.
Every community in the United States has a library or one nearby that will welcome you through their doors. Even if you cannot join a library for whatever reason the materials inside are free to access while you are there. For English as a second language learners, audiobooks are a perfect way to read a story, without actually reading it. Many audiobooks don’t even require a visit to the library, they can be borrowed online or downloaded through many popular apps. For adults with a long commute, an audiobook is a great way to pass the time, learn a few things, and increase your literacy.
The same libraries have book clubs, foreign language clubs, summer camps, storytime for preschoolers, and special visits from local authors. For more information on what your library has to offer, check out their website. In the summer you’ll even find performances from magicians, jugglers and performing scientists. The shows are always free of charge and they’re a great way to give a bored child something to do. Be sure to take home a book about the subject the performer is presenting. If the show is funny, find some joke books and take turns reading jokes to one another. Or if a science show comes to your library, then take home a book about experiments you can do with simple household objects. By the way, in our Magic Bookshelf show we always tell kids that if they don’t like to read it’s just because they haven’t found the right book yet. Explain to your children that if they start a book and find it boring or dull, they are under no obligation to finish it. They can try again with a different book.
Whatever happened to having a pen pal? I remember back in the 1970s every fourth and fifth grader was assigned a penpal at another school in another state. Writing a letter monthly to a new friend not only taught us how to properly address an envelope and properly format a letter, but also forced us to have neat writing skills. Nowadays though, computers and email have replaced the fun of penpalmanship. But schools don’t need to go to such lengths anymore. Elementary school teachers can encourage their older kids to write letters to the younger kids, and vice versa. This also creates a wonderful sense of community in any elementary school. Or do this at home have your child be a pen pal with a grandparent. This is a great way to encourage a special bond between loved ones.
The what? The Newspaper? What’s that?
Yes, newspapers are dying. But they are still around, especially the biggest papers focused mainly on world news. Exposing kids to newspapers from outside of your state is also a great way to introduce children to different styles of journalism. But you don’t need to buy these newspapers. You will find old copies of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal at your library and of course digital versions are available too. Also look for USA today, a full-color newspaper that appeals better to children. Comparing how different newspapers cover the same story is a great way to learn about more advanced ideas like having a voice, or writing from an angle. And reading the newspaper doesn’t have to be boring. Newspapers are filled with comics, crossword puzzles and sometimes even games and arts and crafts projects. Many of the main newspapers publish a special section just for kids in their weekend additions.
And once those newspapers are done they can always be used for an arts and crafts project. By the way, you’ll find step-by-step arts and crafts projects to do on YouTube. Here’s a fun project using old newspapers that has become a part of our popular character education show called Diversity Circus.
Scheer Genius Assembly productions offers two reading shows that have proven to be extremely popular during reading month in elementary schools. For more information about how these shows can come to your school click here.