Several times, I’ve pointed out the Reading Rockets site from WETA Public TV as a good place for library folks who work with kids to visit. I wanted to point out a couple of worthwhile articles on Reading Rockets that you might find worth a read.

One is called “Making Reading Relevant: Read, Learn, and Do!” For adults working with K-3 kids, it offers several activities that turn what’s in a book into a real experience. Don’t pass up any chance to let parents and other caregivers know that “making reading relevant,” putting printed words together with large motor skill activities and 3-D objects, is one of the most important things they can do – especially for boys, who are often behind girls in language development skills, and especially for kids whose parents have less education.

Making reading “relevant” means making the difference between a child who gives up on reading by the fourth grade and one who becomes fascinated with learning about new things through print.

Here’s another, called “Use Summer Fun to Build Background Knowledge.” One of the biggest problems children from lower-income families face in school is a lack of “background knowledge” – the basic information about how the world works that many school lessons, and books, assume that children of a particular age already have. But not all of them – particularly not all of those kids who have gained most of what they know sitting and watching cartoons on video most days – may know things such as that the earth rotates around the sun and the moon around the earth, or how plants grow from seeds.

If you haven’t looked at Reading Rockets yet, pay a visit. It’s a great way to pick up lots of child development and literacy tidbits – the kind you can pick up and then pass along – quickly and pretty painlessly.