Did you know it is reading week this week? The RI State Council/International Reading Association is proud to celebrate reading this week with an archeology theme – Dig Deep: Unearth a Good Book! Visit their facebook page for lots of links to great reading week ideas, not just for classroom teachers. We are all teachers, if kids are in our care. Be a great role model and dig out something good to read!
Many schools have invited guest readers into their classrooms to share favorite books and to encourage all children to read, read, read! Ask the children in your family what special events their class or school did for reading week. This is a great opportunity to show children that reading is important, not just for the obvious like reading roadsigns or safety labels on medication, but for fun, for leisure, for the enjoyment of it.
First of all, I hope you do read for enjoyment, and if you say you don’t have time, think again! All it takes is about 15-20 minutes each day to really enjoy a chapter or so of a great book, or even to read that magazine article that looks interesting. If your host family doesn’t have a huge selection of books in the house, go to the local public library and sign up for a library card for free. You can borrow any number of great books for yourself and discover the kids’ section in the library to open a whole new world of books for your host family children.
Or maybe you want to read with the Au Pair Sis, who has her book club of the month. This month, she is reading Paper Towns by John Green. Join her and at least 40 others for this book or maybe the next one in May. It’s fun to hear other perspectives on what is read and to share a good book with new friends.
When it comes to reading to kids, this is a great opportunity to work on your English skills! It can also be a fun family activity. Here are a few ideas on how to involve everyone in the family and build in a few English lessons along the way!
Maybe the host parents read to the kids…if they do, make sure you sit in and listen for the ways in which the parent makes the story come alive for the children. Listen for ways they change their voice for different characters or change volume or pace to make the story more engaging.Try to do this when you read a story (or try to imitate how the parent read the same story – the kids will love this and may even join in!).
Maybe the children are old enough to read out loud…if they can, let them read to you. It builds their confidence and is another way to build your relationship with them. If they make mistakes, you can point it out if it really interferes with understanding the story, but if it doesn’t, better to not pick on every mistake.This is another way for you to immerse yourself in the English language every day in your cultural exchange experience.
Use reading as a way to share your customs and culture and to learn about American ones. Choose books about topics you are familiar and can share something new with the children. It will force you to speak, in English, about something you know about and are interested in too! You might even find some basic children’s books that could share words, phrases, folktales, or real history from your culture as a way to educate the family about you.
Whatever you do, read to the kids! Not just this week, but every day, every single day, even if it is only 15 minutes. Make it part of a routine you do every day, like brushing and flossing or doing the dishes. It will build a love of reading and learning for a lifetime!
For more information about hosting an au pair or the au pair program, feel free to contact me, Joan Lowell, Local Area Rep for Go Au Pair in Providence, RI, at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our local page at http://www.goaupair.com/Providence.