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Islamic Titles
Kids Titles
Children's Catalog
Usborne Books
Islamic Info
Islamic Education

How to Raise a Reader

Raising Motivated Learners

10 Ways Kids Connect @ The Library

Stimulating all forms of intelligence                                 

How Can I Help My Children Understand What They See and Hear?

Whole Language

How Can I Help My Children Grow and Learn?

On 'Living' Books

How Children Fail

I Learn Better By Teaching Myself

Your Child's Growing Mind




How to Raise a Reader

Reading is a basic survival skill in today's information society.

But learning to read doesn't happen in the classroom alone. In fact, the best readers are introduced to books and reading long before they enter school. That's because parents are children's first and most important teachers. But you are not alone. Help is as close as your nearest public or school library. Whether it's surfing the Internet or finding just the right book for a reluctant reader, librarians are glad to help you and your family.

When something is fun, kids love to do it. Here are some tips to help make reading a valued and fun part of your life together.

From Birth

Half of your child's brain development happens before age four. Children who are read to before school age are better readers. These activities are designed to stimulate your baby's mind and prepare him or her to learn to read.

Talk to your baby. Tell what you're doing at bath time or when changing diapers. Point out birds and trees as you walk ("See the yellow bird!). Use your normal voice and words. Babies understand more than you think.

Sing. Try childhood favorites or make up your own. Baby doesn't care if you have a good voice!

Read to your baby each day. Mom, dad, grandparents, babysitters, older brothers and sisters can all enjoy this special activity. Make it a habit before naps, bedtime or any quiet time. Pick sturdy books with pages that won't tear and can be wiped clean. Also try fabric or different textured books that use baby's sense of touch. Many libraries have a special selection of books for babies.

Sign up for special "lap sit" story hours at the library. They help parents share books with their babies.

Make reading cuddle time. Hold your baby in your arms, on your lap or sitting next to you.

Don't forget to tell your own stories. It's never too early to share your experiences, family lore and values. Your history is as important as what's in the books.

Toddler - Preschool

As your child grows, he will be ready for new reading adventures. But remember that all children learn at a different pace. Some learn slowly, while others will begin reading in what seems like no time. Some will finish a book in ten minutes, others need more time. Never compare your child to others. Share your child's excitement over learning each new skill.

Take your child to the library and bookstores often. Introduce him to the children's librarian. Take him to storyhours, even if he won't sit through an entire program. Let him wander through the stacks and feel good about being there.

As soon as your child is old enough, have him register for his own library card. Make it a special event. Call grandma and grandpa to tell them the big news. Serve his favorite dinner. Let him check out what interests him, not what you think he should read. Remind him when it's time to return the books (a great way to teach responsibility early on).

Make a special place for your child's books and library books - a bottom bookshelf or basket on the floor where she can reach them when she wants.

Display books and magazines prominently in your home so they become a part of everyday life.

Record your child's favorite stories on cassette tapes to play in the car or when you aren't around. Or borrow tapes of popular children's books and nursery rhymes from the library. Islamic stories on tape for children are now available from The Islamic Foundation. 

Have your child make up stories and act them out using puppets or toys. Make up songs or poems together, then perform them for family and friends.

Take favorite books or magazines along wherever you go. Use waiting times at doctors' offices or in line at the grocery store to tell stories or read together.

Try educational computer games. Many libraries have computers and software designed for various ages.

Give your child books as gifts, and have your child give books as gifts. This reinforces the idea that books are fun and special and not just for school use.

School Days

It's important to keep reading together even after your child begins learning to read. The teacher will teach him how to read, but it's up to you to make reading fun and meaningful in everyday life so your child will want to be a good reader.

Use the library often. Encourage your child to ask the librarian for help finding stories she'll like. Make suggestions, but let her check out what she wants to read.

Let your child see both mom and dad reading and using the library. Encourage children to think of the library as a resource for fun and learning throughout life.

Enroll your child in a library summer reading club. It's free! Studies show that children who participate in summer reading programs are more likely to retain their reading skills over the summer.

As her reading skills improve, have her read to you, baby brother, even her favorite teddy bear. Some stories that interest her may still be too hard for her to read on her own. She'll let you know if she would rather read with you or by herself.

Look for ways your child can use his new reading skills. Ask him to read signs, menus, cereal boxes. Have him read to you while you do the dishes or fix the pipes. Ask relatives to write postcards to him. Put notes in his lunch box ("Thank you for helping me today! Love, Mom.")

Computer time can be reading time. There are many programs for children that build their reading skills. Let your child help you "surf the Internet." Have him point to colors, shapes and words on the screen. Send "letters" via e-mail.

Make cards and party invitations. Have your child create her own special messages. She can write them or cut words or letters out of magazines and paste them on construction paper.

As your child gets older, have him write a daily journal. Suggest that he start by simply telling everything he does each day. He could write on any scraps of paper and put them together in a binder, or you might give him a notebook or blank page book to make it special.

Set aside a special read aloud time for the whole family. There are many books that everyone from toddlers to teens to moms and dads will enjoy. Have family members read different parts. Make a bowl of popcorn. Turn off the TV. And enjoy!
From the American Library Association


10 Ways Kids Connect @ The Library

Answers. . .How fast can a dog run? What is the moon made of? What happened to the dinosaurs? No question need go without an answer. One mom reports keeping a list and taking it with her to the library to help her child find the answers.

Books. . . More books than any family can afford. Books to help stretch a child's mind and imagination. Many different books will tempt children of all ages to pick up a book and read. Ask your librarian for titles the whole family will enjoy.

Computers. . .Kids who aren't logged-on and literate will be lost in the 21st century. More and more libraries provide computers and classes to help kids (moms and dads, too) master computer skills.

Fun. . .Check out your library's free programs for children. Today's libraries offer a wide gamut of programming.

Homework help. . . A growing number of libraries across the country offer homework centers specially staffed and equipped with computers and other reference materials to assist children.

Librarians. . .Librarians are experts at answering questions and helping kids connect with books to appeal to their special interests. Be sure to introduce your children to the librarian and encourage them to ask for assistance.

Magazines. . .Most libraries offer a selection of popular children's magazines with stories, games and other fun activities.

Preschool learning. . .Getting kids ready to learn starts at birth. Almost every library offers preschool storyhours and other programs to introduce children to the fun of reading and stimulate mental development.

Tapes. . .Borrow books and stories to play in the car, while brushing teeth, before nap or bedtime.

Videos. . .Check 'em out. Virtually every library offers videos on loan at no or nominal fees. 
Adapted from the American Library Association



How Can I Help My Children Understand What They See and Hear?

Children come up with their own ideas about the things they see happening around them. They form ideas about how to solve problems, what it means to be a boy or a girl, what power is, what a police officer does, how family members treat each other, and hundreds of other things about their lives. You can help your children as they figure out these ideas.

Offer more ideas for children to think about, so they don't make up their minds after just one experience.

Draw a connection for them between new ideas and what they already know.

Guide them through confusing experiences with lots of talking and comforting.

Find out where they get some of the ideas you don't like.

Answer their questions and let them know they can always ask more.

Ask them questions to find out how they make sense of what they see and hear.




How Can I Help My Children Grow and Learn?

As a parent, you are your children's first and most important teacher. Although they learn a lot from whomever they spend time with, they look to you most often.

As they watch you, you teach your children in all parts of their lives--how to play; how to act around others; how to react to something exciting, scary, funny, or sad. They depend on you to answer their questions.

You can help your children grow and learn by building a strong and growing relationship with each of them. When you respond to them with affection and consistency, their self-esteem grows. When you make them feel important and safe, you give them the confidence they need to step out and learn.



Raising Motivated Learners

Homes that raise motivation levels tend to:

*Have a strong commitment to child rearing, involvement with children and understanding of the child's point of view.

*Be able to adapt to a child's current abilities.

*Structure clear and consistent guidelines.

*Avoid external rewards and punishments whenever possible.

*Expect children to take responsibility for their own outcome and gain rewards from internal feelings of accomplishment.

*Provide carefully design challenges.

*Encourage children to celebrate small success.

*Avoid insincere praise for poor work (definition of 'poor' or 'good' depends on child's ability in this particular situation)

*Focus on effort/learning, not grades/product.

*Offer choices within an overall structure.

*Allow children time to become deeply and independently involved in learning activities.

*Provide a variety of output modes (projects, art, multimedia)

*Help children see the reason (personal payoff) for tasks.

*Maintain a sense of humor!.

Adapted from Your Child Growing Mind by Jane Healy




Stimulating all forms of intelligence

Spiritual intelligence
Increasing awareness of Allah through thorough understanding of tawheed, seerah, fiqh, sunnah, memorizing and learning the Qur’an, and learning the Arabic language.

Linguistic intelligence
Sources are books, tape recorder, typewriters, computers, story telling, writing, public speaking, debate, reading.

Logical mathematical 
Strategy games like chess, checkers, monopoly, Rubik’s cube, math puzzles, crossword puzzles, word searches, science kits, computer software, thinking games; cards or board games, picture puzzles, 3D or block puzzles.

Films, slides, videos, diagrams, maps, charts, art, telescopes, binoculars, lego, building toys, and optical illusion.

Playgrounds, running, hiking, swimming, gyms, model building kits, woodcarving, model clay, machines, animals, costumes, and make believe.

Clubs, groups, social programs, cooperation, interactive games, group projects, and discussions.

Self-paced study, individual projects, free times, private spaces, diaries, solo activities, hide-away, tents, and secret places.

Adapted from The Natural Child

Whole Language

The learner is viewed as an active 'constructor of knowledge' not merely a passive recipient of information. Reading, writing, speaking and listening are taught as integrated rather than separate disciplines. The material used for reading, and thus as a basis for many writing activities, include fine children's literature and examples of good language in a variety of narrative and expository forms.

From the Endangered Minds 
Jane Healy 


On 'Living' Books

Charlotte Mason is a great proponent of the use of living or real books in children's education in conjunctions to or as replacements to boring, facts/information filled textbooks written by a committee interested in just filling children's head with data instead of actually educating them. Instead of reading a science textbook in order to know about metabolism why not read a science book that talks about where the food you eat goes to. There are tons of science, history, computer, geography series especially written with children in mind. Dry facts woven in fun stories, generous illustration become much more interesting when being put in context. 
Forget where I got this from!!!!!! Sorry


How Children Fail

I doubt very much if it is possible to teach anyone to understand anything, that is to say, to see how various parts of it relate to all the other parts, to have a model of the structure in one's mind. We can give other people names and lists, but we cannot give them our mental structure; they must built their own. Many people claim that any field of knowledge or experience can be turned into a series of questions and answers - programmed learning. An 11th grader who had been taught a year or two of programmed math pointed out to me one day, with more insight than he perhaps realized, the flaw in the method: 'If people give the questions I can remember most of the answers, but I can never remember the questions'. Exactly.

John Holt


Your Child's Growing Mind

Preschool learning: Learning that arises from personal experience helps growing brains receive, associate, organize and comprehend at the appropriate neural levels.

Children need the gift of patience for the broad-based mental experiences that will underlie joyous learning throughout life. Teaching specific academic skills before the levels of sensory reception and association are in place is like trying to build a penthouse on apartment building before immediate floor is completed.

Childhood is a process, not a product and so is learning. It is a process of creation and thought, it is easy to fall into the trap of anxiety over measuring achievement in isolated skills.

Children's brains generally seek what they need, parents have the instincts to help them get it.

Children will not get behind if you allow them the time to accomplish the natural work of childhood.

Jane Healy


I Learn Better By Teaching Myself

Trust : A small word with an enormous meaning. Learning is based on trust. We are always learning. Learning does not require coercion or irrelevant reward. Our children deserve our trust. A child learns best when she understands what she learn and how it affects her personally. Most learning is incidental because the child learns as she is doing things she finds useful and interesting. Learning is collaborative and it is defeated when instruction is delivered mechanically.

A student demonstrates the worthwhile things she has learned by engaging in related activities, and she should not have to rely on grades, scores or tests. learning involves feeling. She will remember how she felt when she learned.............. and when she failed to learn.

Until we can accept that the human mind remains a mystery we operate under the delusion that it is possible to know, measure, and control what goes on in our children's mind. Possibly 'control' is the key to why so many adults have a problem accepting the fact that children learn much more through interest initiated learning than through other directed learning.

Agnes Leistico


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