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Inspiring Children to Become Eager Readers

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It can be difficult for parents to know exactly when to start teaching their children how to identify colors and numbers or when the right time is to start reading to them. However, the earlier parents begin reading to their children, the better prepared they can be once they reach school age.

In fact, reading to children at home can set them up for success in school and in life, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. With the right resources, parents can influence their kids’ enjoyment of reading.  Make learning fun and include the entire family within the home with planned days for visits to the library.  Another fun way for parents to explore fun ways to read are tips from the Pizza Hut Book It Program, which aims to motivate kindergarten through sixth-grade students to read by rewarding them with praise and pizza, can help inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Read to your children early and often. Parental involvement is one of the best predictors of future academic achievement, according to research published in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community. Getting into a routine of reading to your children at a young age is a habit that can be pivotal to developing a love of reading. As you read, point out words, colors, and images and ask questions about the story to help children develop a deeper understanding and relate what they have learned back to other books and activities.

Regularly visit the library. As mentioned earlier in this article, libraries typically have lists available of favorite books for various age groups and can help parents and kids create reading lists of stories that match reading levels and interests. Additionally, attending “story times” and other library activities tailored to age-specific target audiences can expose your child to new books.

Make books easily accessible. Having multiple locations in the home where you keep books can inspire children to pick one up anytime. Start with the main bookshelf in your child’s room that lets him or her easily see the titles and place additional book storage locations in different rooms where your family typically spends the most time.

Comfort zones within the home. Creating the perfect spot (or spots) to read has a lot to do with individual children. While some prefer to read with mom and dad in a chair or on a couch, others prefer their own space where they can cuddle up with a good book. If space allows, consider dedicating a corner of your child’s bedroom or playroom as a “book nook.”

Take advantage of technology.  The use of technology can aid in creating excitement about reading. To help develop strong reading habits and enhance your child’s vocabulary and ability to comprehend, consider supplementing traditional books with devices such as e-readers and tablets or smartphones equipped with age-appropriate reading and learning applications.

Set examples by establishing reading routines. Children often see their parents as role models. If you read often, your children will be more likely to pick up the habit, as well, according to a BOOK IT! survey. It revealed that adults who have gone through the program are more likely to establish regular reading routines with their families, as 54 percent of the survey respondents said they read with their children every day, compared to 32 percent who did not participate in the program.

For more information and ways to help inspire young readers, visit bookitprogram.com.

Photos/Getty Images

Source:  BOOKIT Program

@LeNoraMillen      01-27-18

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Lifestyle

Freedom Is A Choice! “I am grabbing God’s coattail and letting Him lead”

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Freedom has a deeper meaning for those like Omar Howard. Just a little over a decade ago he was released, seemingly free from the restraints of prison. Yet, walking out of the doors he had no clue he would be entering into the harsh prison of life that follows those like him who have a record. That record makes it hard for them to have the basic level of freedom that most of us who have never been down that road take for granted. Howard is like multiple men and women who are released from jail with a plan to change but have to fight the “system”. Howard describes his “beginning” as working endless opportunities just to make ends meet and being told “no” repeatedly. It would have been easy for Howard to just go back to the life of crime. Why wouldn’t he? Why didn’t he? His response, “You have to make a conscious decision to change every day. Life is about choices, every choice leads to a destination and you have to believe God is in control”. This thought process and his tenacity led him to his current place and receiving his pardon January 2018, just a month after celebrating his ten year release.

Howard was 15 when he dropped out of school and started down a path to destruction. Hard robbery was the crime that would ultimately change his life and leave him with no choice but to accept a plea deal that resulted in an 18 year sentence from a “hit” that left a man being killed. Howard maintains his innocence in the murder and has apologized to the family for the part that he played. Although he doesn’t blame his childhood for his choices, he does state that it’s important that parent’s play an essential part in the lives of the children that you bring into this world. “Parental intimacy is important, create structure for your kids and let them know how much you love them. Fathers, be a part of your children’s lives or they will embrace their counterparts for support. Be transparent and talk to your kids about real issues.”

When asked, What would you say to your younger self? Howard responds, “Establish a relationship with God. Embrace the process, strive harder and KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.” The same thoughts he now shares with the youth that are involved with his foundation “Freedom is a Choice, Inc., a mentoring program for at-risk teens. It is evident that Howard is a changed man, as a Chaplain at the Atlanta Transitional Center in midtown, he speaks hope to those who are where he once was. He is a featured speaker in the documentary “Released” When Does the Sentence End?” and most recently shared his story on Iyanla Vanzat’s “Fix My Life” show. He is a man of action and on a mission to keep as many young men from walking in his shoes by exposing them to better. He is a sought after motivational speaker and hopes to extend his program to have one of the largest faith-based youth centers very soon. It is nothing short of amazing, but his ability to serve and give makes him a blessing.

Read more about The Omar Howard Story. 

 

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Lifestyle

Is This Life?

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Media headlines are displaying disaster all over the world with no resolve. From children being killed in innocent shootouts because of the flaws in gun laws to sexual abuse cases on the rise. Our government has gone haywire and currently dominating the spotlight while, deadly diseases and mental illnesses are being minimized. Is this life? Is this what life is becoming? Every morning we wake up to the sound of breaking news and headlines that make us cringe. Positive stories and encouraging words have become harder to find. When asking others, “How do you deal with the negative energy every day?” Some reply, “I don’t. I don’t watch the news, or I don’t listen to it.” My reply is usually this, “It isn’t just on the news. It’s walking or sitting right beside you and sometimes it’s even in your household. There are people suffering every day because of the things we don’t do, don’t want to see, or simply don’t want to get involved in.” We have been conditioned to not get in anyone else’s business unless it affects us personally. Look around you, open your eyes. It’s now affecting us all and we must do something. This is a call for action. It’s time we all unselfishly take part in rebuilding our communities. Make it your business to do something intentional every day in an effort to make a change in your community and begin to push everyone including yourself out of the comfort of just accepting what is. We are losing innocent lives every day to drug abuse, domestic violence, hunger, contaminated water and the list of disasters that are happening right under our nose increase, every second, every minute and every hour of every day.

You may be wondering what you can do to promote positive change in your community, here is a start:

  • Volunteer at shelters-Everyone has something they can provide-share your expertise. Help by donating your goods and knowledge.
  • Volunteer at schools-Teachers need more mentors and positive role models. We all have a story, share your experience and give a child a blueprint to a better life.
  • Spend quality time with your kids and your family- We get so caught up in life that we forget to nourish what we have already been blessed with. Take time to water the seeds you planted.
  • Contact your political partners and work with them on change for your community. What do you see in your area that would be an easy fix to reduce crime or poverty. Make a plan and Expose it!

There are so many things that we can do to change the direction of this world but WE must work together for the good and it doesn’t matter what religion, race or sex you are-we all have something in common. We want the best for our families.
Post and share your thoughts on what you can do to expose and improve your community. Hashtag#exposuremagazine #isthislife

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Lifestyle

Cubs Sign Pitcher Yu Darvish to $126 Million Deal in Preparation for Next Title Run

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Making one of the biggest splashes this off-season, the Chicago Cubs have added pitcher Yu-Darvish, formerly of the Los Angeles to their talented, but imperfect roster.

The deal for Darvish standing at $126 million also comes with an opt out clause along with performance clauses to increase the value of the deal. The Cubs had been in talks with Darvish for a good portion of the last season, but now apparently was the best time for both parties.

Despite the unceremonious ending to last season in the NLCS, the Cubs have been in a better place these past several seasons than they have been in a long while. The signing of Darvish to say the least is a very good insurance policy to sustain this run.

With names like Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks, Darvish will complete the rotation for one of the most talented group of pitchers in baseball. However this move seems to nudge Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta who is currently a free agent to the door. Arrieta had an up and down season with flashes of greatness, but ultimately didn’t make the best case to remain with the ball club.

Wild Card Game - Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta

Darvish brings a 2.4 ERA against National League Central opponents as well as his all-time MLB leading 11 strikeouts per nine innings ratio to the Cubs which makes this the pickup many other teams are coveting right now. The Cubs begin spring training in a week and can begin integrating Darvish then in preparation for the upcoming season.

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