10 Awesome Reasons Why Kids Should Read.

Summer holidays are at their end. Australian kids all around the nation are embarking on another academic school year. With that comes the controversial issue of homework.

Currrent research theory suggests that homework is not necessary. I'm not here to debate the pro's and con's of homework, (some may say that it depends entirely upon the age of the children and the stage of schooling they are at.) Suffice to say, if your kids are in Primary school, no matter what your school's current homework policy happens to be, I believe all children should at least read.

Below are my 10 awesome reasons why I believe all children (no matter what their age) should have the opportunity to read at home every day.

1.Imaginations grow and expand as books take children to magical far away lands with intriguing characters and unusual creatures.

2.Reading inspires creativity to think and invent. It is with stories children are inspired to dream and it is those dreamers who grow up to become the inventers of our world and our future.

3.Children can explore the world around them without leaving the safety of their bedroom. They can learn all about geography, flora and fauna, all things great and small.

4. Vocabulary is increased. The more a child reads, the more new words they discover. Comprehension is learnt in context and gradually as the new vocabulary is read more often it becomes part of every day life and speech.

5. Improved spelling. Repetition is a secret to success and as such, the more often a child reads, the more often they see the same words repeatedly in written form, again in context rather than isolation giving more meaning to each word. This makes it more likely that these words will become embedded in the memory and the child will be able to "see" the word when they are required to spell it.

6. Reading opens up a whole world of knowledge. Once a child learns to read, they can choose to read anything enabling them to learn about whatever their heart desires. It helps to stimulate the brain so that the child can grow and be educated to become whatever they choose to be when they become an adult.

7. Reading helps to develop empathy for other people  through viewing the world through the eyes of many different colourful characters. Giving children opportunities to understand how someone else may feel in situations that they may or may not be familiar with.

8. Life's lessons are taught through many children's books as they so often have a worthwhile moral to the story. This also opens up opportunities for family discussions and debates bringing the family closer together as they unite around a topic.

9. The more a child reads, the better they get at it. Like anything else in life, whether that is piano lessons or kicking a ball, we all know the old adage that "practice makes perfect."

10. Last, but by no means least, reading together, sharing  a book with someone you love, ( a parent, grandparent, sibling or friend) brings people together to make special moments. It allows time for laughter, cuddles and hugs. It builds relationships and creates strong bonds that form ever lasting wonderful memories.

So whatever happens in your house this year during the busy school terms to come, whether there is after school sport practice, music lessons,  or swimming training, (not to mention the usual household chores,) please take the time to read with your children every day. Even if it is only 20 minutes a day, you will not only be instilling a great life long habbit, you will also be giving them a love of learning and reading that

they will both love you and thank you for one day.

Hop on into Two Furry Cute Reads.

Freckles the Bunny Series by Vickianne Caswell Illustrated by Allissa Thompson.

Book 1. Freckles is Scared of School. Freckles the Bunny Series, Book # 1: Freckles is Scared of Schoo

Change can be a frightening thing, particularly when you are small and use to staying home with mum, being able to play all day with familiar toys. When Freckles learns it is time to start school, like any child who is afraid of the unknown Freckles is rather apprehensive.

This is a delightful story about how to manage that feat. As Freckles meets her teacher and makes new friends she learns that school is not the scary place that she imagined it to be afterall. We are introduced to some cute furry friends that are not all necessarily bunnies. Each have their own little quirky traits, like the duck name Donut that runs around in circles all the time, or Dreamy who always falls asleep, they are wonderful concepts that bring memorable life to each individual character.

This is a great book for parents to read to their pre-schoolers to help prepare them for the beginning of the school year, or for teachers to read-aloud during those initial anxious first weeks of Kindergarten. Wonderfully written and illustrated in delightful animal characters this tale will find its way into the hearts of pre-school aged children everywhere.

Book 2. Freckles And The Less Fortunate. Freckles the Bunny Series, Book # 2: Freckles and the Less Fortu

The heartwarming story of how Freckles learns to give and share with those that are not as comfortable as her own family. Like most kids, Freckles wants everything she sees when she goes shopping with her mum and doesn't understand why she can't have what she asks for. It isn't until a new clasmate arrives that barely has enough food for lunch or toys of her own to play with that Freckles realsies how lucky she really is.

The generosity and kindness in this story is so touching that it nearly brought me to tears. Beautifully written and illustrated it is an excellent read-aloud story for the whole family to enjoy and treasure. Children will learn in a gently guided atmosphere that to give is better than to receive as they read how happy Freckles and her family are when they are able to help other families that are not doing as well as themselves.

Stay tuned for more in this gorgeous little series. I am sure that it is just the beginning as Freckles still has so much more to learn and share with children young and old.

Author Vickianne Caswell. Vicianne Caswell

Vickianne Caswell is married and has one daughter, who has an amazing gift with animals (all animals wild or tame seem to love her). Vickianne was raised an animal lover, in the city and continues to pass that on to her daughter. Vickianne hopes to pass the love and joy of animals to other children through these books. She has been doing writing at home since she was a teenager, after her father got her interested in writing  when he published a poem. She has done a few articles for a small paper on animal care and continues to experience the joy of pet ownership on an acreage where her family lives. New characters may appear, as new animals enter their lives, so stay tuned!

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Classic middle child syndrome.

Gingerbread Aliens is told through the eyes of David Bradberrie. He displays all the typical traits of a middle child. He is use to being the quiet under achiever, almost lost and forgotten in the family and happy to keep the status quo. If there is one thing David does not like, it is being caught in the middle of all the inevitable mischief he and his two brothers always find themselves in. Brian is the classic gifted David Bradberrie0001and talented older brother. Full of ideas and scientific theories, he'll push the limits of the envelope in the interest of research and development every time.

Simon is the much loved baby of the family who can do no wrong. He is a scallywag and practical joker as he knows he can get away with evreything he tries.

Poor David is a nervous wreck! It doesn't matter what he tries to do, his brothers lead him further and deeper into trouble.

As a parent reading Gingerbread Aliens with our children what are the lessons that can be learnt?

Treat each of our children equally? I don't think so! Treat each of our children as individuals.  - That's better. :)

It is important to remember that each of our children although raised in the same household in the same manner, still have their very own unique characteristics, needs and wants. We may try to bring them up the same but they will have their own ideas and will respond accordingly. It goes back to the old nature verses nurture question. I am a believer in the theory that the two go hand in hand. We raise our children to the best of our abiltiy and teach certain moral standards or expectations but at a certain point nature kicks in and their personality develops from within. Whether that is genetic, linking back through many generations of our family tree or simply a product of their own self development.

It is especially important to the middle child to be treated as an individual, someone who can feel special and unique. In the busy day to day running of life it is easy to forget the middle child. We are so busy praising the triumphs of the first sibling and hugging the "baby" we forget to take time for the one in the middle.

It's easy to make time by doing things togther as a family. Swimming, picnics, fishing, bushwalking are all family oriented and lots of fun, but the problem is the middle child is still lost amongst the crowd. Mum and dad are still giving attention to all three siblings. What the middle child needs (and in fact the other siblings too) is time out to shine on a regular basis, with one parent. With our boys for example, our middle son went to archery with his dad every Sunday. Time to interact alone with dad and feel worthy of his time. Our eldest son had weekly piano lesons. Admittedly either one of us could take him, but he could also choose to practice with whichever parent listening that he wanted. The youngest son loved playing soccer. He had great team spirit and enjoyed dad watching his game every Saturday morning. Sometimes even I was allowed to attend, especially when our team was on canteen roster!

Being a parent of three siblings can be tricky, but with a little careful planning and awareness we can muddle through. Somehow they manage to grow up to be unique and wonderful independent individuals that we can be very proud of.