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Teachable moments for your children, even on a snow day

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As the frigid temperatures continue across Minnesota, many parents find themselves home with their children for the second day in a row. Public schools, private schools, and even some childcare centers have closed due to the dangerous below freezing temperatures.

On day one, your children could be found in front of the television indulging in all of the cartoons they possibly could watch while you looked at this as a swell opportunity to catch up on your laundry, dishes, and other household chores. You may have even gotten dinner started and been able to catch up on your e-mails as well. In fact, this was quite the successful day for you as a parent.

Day two, however, finds you with bored children and a guilty conscience. There aren't very many days in life, as your children get older, where you get to spend a whole day at home with them. An entire house in your grasp, with no deadlines, no important phone calls, and nowhere to be. An opportunity for bonding, quality time spent together, and a teachable moment.

What better time than now, to practice teaching your young children how to read? And if you have older children, all the better. It's a great opportunity to include them in the teachable moment and show them what an important role they play in their younger siblings lives too.

Upon entering into Kindergarten, children are expected to be able to read so many words. Not to mention, children who are able to read successfully by third grade show a higher success rate in their other classes and next grade levels. By setting the example to your child that reading can be a fun, leisurely activity, you create a successful base for their long term learning.

Start slowly by giving your child a variety of books to choose from. Colorful illustrations, character relation, and a fun read help to engage a child's interest and yearning to continue with more books. Take turns reading pages to help your child feel comfortable reading out loud. And be encouraging. Let your child sound those words out, but don't let them give up. Create a positive experience and you will create a successful teachable moment for your children...and maybe even yourself.

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