Friday, March 04, 2011

Reading with kids can help them prepare for emergencies

Stop, drop and roll! Reading and reciting those three simple words in childhood helped many of us understand what to do if our clothes caught on fire. A scary prospect indeed, especially for a kid. But it gave us a lifelong tool with which to respond during a time of emergency.

Reading with children can not only help kids perform better in school and have a healthy self-image, it can also help them understand what to do in case of an emergency and how to live healthier, safer lives.

Many communities and schools celebrated Read Across America Day this week on March 2 — the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. It helped spread the importance of reading with children.

You see, young children and early readers can’t do it alone — they need to read with you. Consider spending time with children in your family or community to help them become stronger readers. The National Education Association offers some tips to help you engage children in reading in fun ways.

And while you’re reading, think about using some of the many child-friendly safety and preparedness resources available. There are stories on a whole range of topics such as how to use 911, hygiene and hand-washing, disaster preparedness and even how to perform CPR.

APHA’s Get Ready campaign offers even more. “Anita’s Story” is a quick and fun read about a young girl and her family preparing for a winter storm. APHA’s Get Ready Kid’s Guide helps young readers learn about flu prevention. And the Get Ready campaign offers easy-to-read fact sheets about hand-washing in English and Spanish, and one for
preschoolers, also in English and Spanish.

This is just a start. Your local library or bookstore will have many other options to consider.

There’s no doubt that reading with children can help prepare them for life. While you’re at it, take an extra step to help them learn important lessons about staying safe and healthy and the importance of preparing for emergencies.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Clipart Gallery/Corbis

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