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National Reading Month is celebrated in March to honor Dr. Suess’ birthday.  Let’s all celebrate and read every day this month!  When we love books, good things happen.  Reading strengthens our mental muscles, improves comprehension, increases imagination, and boosts memory.  Reading makes us smarter!  Who doesn’t want that?

Read aloud to your child every day even when they are babies.  This is so important because infants are developing language skills the minute they are born. Research shows that babies ages 0 -5 years old need to hear at least 6,000 words per day to develop strong language skills. The average person speaks around 16,000 words in a day.  Make sure this includes talking, reading and singing to those darling kids.

Take your toddlers to the library on a regular basis and continue to do so even into the teen years. After choosing a few books, read every day.  Jazz up reading time by including stuffed animals and pets. Recruit all family members to read to each other.

Here are some ideas to keep reading interesting:

  • After reading a book with your child, ask questions.
  • Be sure to have a bag ready with several books, to have available when driving or when waiting.
  • Choose a theme, such as “snow.”
  • Dress up like a book character.
  • Hold up the book cover and ask questions, such as about the colors and shapes.
  • Make faces to show the emotions of the characters.
  • Place books at the child’s level in your home.
  • Stop at a verb and act it out.

As the children learn to read, encourage their progress and their independent reading. The Education Specialist at your tribe or Anishinaabe organization can help with many more reading activities, especially as the kids grow up.

The reading program 2 X 2 + 20 = 24 is recommending that we brush our teeth twice a day for two minutes and that we read each day for 20 minutes. A chart to record each task is a great way for kids to track their progress. In a month, this would be 90-93 completed tasks.

Engaging charts can be downloaded each month for each reader at:

For my three children, I used stars, and I promised a small reward for 80 stars.  We read from a physical book. Picking up a desired book and physically turning the pages gives a child agency.

Excellent dental health and learning are tied together. A healthy mouth is necessary for proper speech development. Dental disease is the main cause for health-related school absences.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr. Seuss

Dr. Jessica A. Rickert is a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, in 1975, she became for the first female Native American dentist.

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
About The Author
Author: Jessica A. RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.