[Updated on 3/18/2020] Nothing is more important than a child’s education. Reading, especially when it’s done often, is key to strong cognitive development. When children read they are doing more than just hearing a story, they are developing their brains. The benefits include:
- Improvements in reading overall (speed, understanding, etc.)
- Strengthens the brains connections
- Improvements in concentration
- Broadening knowledge of other people, places, events outside of their own lives
- Improvements in vocabulary and language skills
- Strengthens and develops your imagination
- Allows children to develop empathy
- Combats boredom
- Can bring families closer by reading together
- Improvements in academic achievements across all curriculum areas
At Paradiso Insurance, we have the privilege of hosting our “Bikes for Reading” program at a few of our local elementary schools here in Stafford Springs Connecticut.
What is Bikes for Reading?
Bikes for Reading is a program designed to help encourage children in grades 2-6 to read more during their free time. At the beginning of the school year, all children in these grades are notified of the program and allowed to begin recording their reading time at home. Between then and the end of the school year, if they reach 70 hours of reading their name will be entered into a drawing for a new bicycle. Then, come the end of the school year, members from Paradiso Insurance will come to the school and give a bike to the winner in each grade level. Each grade level will have three opportunities to win. We will do one drawing in April, one drawing in May and one drawing in June. The drawings are done completely at random so that any child who has reached their 70 hours has an equal opportunity to win.
As a parent, how can I help?
We are encouraging all parents who have children participating in the program to encourage their child to read. Reminders often go a long way and can have a large impact on the success of the program. This is the most important way you can help.
Many times, our local schools will ask for parents to volunteer to help organize and keep track of the Bikes for Reading program’s hours and tracking sheets. If you are looking to help out in any way, contact your child’s school and see if they need any assistance!
How do you ensure hours are accurate?
To keep everyone accountable, we ask that a parent sign each weekly record sheet to verify that their child completed the hours listed on their sheet. These sheets then get turned into the school every week, where each student’s reading log gets updated. Throughout the school year, each student will be able to win small prizes, such as an eraser or bookmark, to help encourage them to reach their goal of 70 hours.
How can you start a program in your local school?
If you’re interested in starting a similar program in your local elementary schools we would be happy to assist you! Simply email Caroline or Jordan in our marketing department and they would be happy to send you our Bikes for Reading program outline. We have assisted many other insurance agencies with setting up their own program in their communities and would be thrilled to assist yours!
Ways to Enhance Your Child’s Reading Experience
If you and your child have just begun reading together, here are a few helpful tips to enhance this experience:
- Set the stage: talk about what you read yesterday and what might happen next
- Wait to ask: defer questions until after reading, unless the question is necessary to understand what is happening. This will keep your child fully engaged.
- Relate: talk about how a book can relate to one that you’ve read in the past by discussing the similarities and differences.
- Imagine: ask the child to imagine what he or she may do in a situation being faced by a character.
- Share Feelings: offer your own reaction to what is happening in the book and invite the child to do the same.
- Stop at Suspense: stop reading the book at a suspenseful point so the child will be eager for the next reading session.
The more ways we can come together as a community the stronger we will be as a whole. We want to thank everyone who has played a role in our Bikes for Reading program and hope we will be able to continue our program for many more years to come! We are looking forward to giving away bikes to these deserving students as we stand behind the importance of early childhood reading and education.