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Local families make reading together a priority

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Katie Johnson, 6, climbs into bed with her mother, Jenny, every night, so they can read two books to each other.

Madison Stinchcomb, 10, reads books with her grandmother, Teneva Fulford, every afternoon after school.

Jace Pruitt, 6, likes to read books about dinosaurs and Pokemon to his grandmother, Joyce Webb, on a regular basis.

As Arnold Elementary School students, their parents and school officials browsed books at a school book fair on Thursday, they talked about what reading books with family members has produced.

"The benefit of reading as a family is they [children] become better readers while spending quality time with their families," said Mary Ruth Boman, a media specialist at Arnold Elementary. "It [also] shows the child that reading is important because an adult takes it seriously."

The school holds six family read-ins every year, so parents can come to the school, join their children and read books together. Many parents, however, said family reading time is important no matter when, or where it is held.

"It gives her [Stinchcomb] something to do, and another good thing about our reading time is just being close together," said Fulford. "She'll sit so close to me and we'll read together."

Stinchcomb said reading with her grandmother has helped her improve her vocabulary. "If there is a word that I don't understand, or have trouble pronouncing, she helps me with it," said the fifth-grader.

Jenny Johnson said she's been reading to her daughter, Katie, since she was born. Now they make it an event before bed. The elder Johnson is an early intervention program teacher at Suder Elementary School. "The bond we have as we snuggle up in bed and read together, that's the best part as a mama," Jenny Johnson said. "As a teacher, the best part is seeing her interest in books."

Webb, Jace Pruitt's grandmother, said it's good to get children interested in reading books because of the information they contain. "Nowadays, they learn a lot from reading books," she said.

Jace, who was more interested in looking at the books on sale than being interviewed, then piped up and said, "I like seeing what's inside the book, especially the pictures."