This April, in honor of Earth Day, celebrated on Sunday, April 22, we are focusing on the importance of nature across our social media properties. In addition, our first Facebook contest of 2012 will be the Kumon Poetry Challenge in celebration of Earth Day. 

The Kumon Poetry Challenge asks students 18 and under from all over North America to celebrate the holiday through poetry. To enter the contest, a student’s parent or guardian submits the student’s poem through Facebook. Six students will each receive $500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City with two of their parents and/or guardians, including a visit to Kumon North America. Please visit the Kumon Facebook page starting at noon EST on April 17 to find out more and submit your child’s poem.

This month’s series of parenting articles on Facebook will also focus on poetry and the environment. Here are upcoming articles planned for April:

• Poetry 101: Tips and Ideas for Great Poems — A feature to help students as they craft submissions for the Kumon Poetry Contest, this article will also help parents explain poetry to younger children. It will cover each of the format options for the contest, explaining them and list additional resources. In addition, the article will discuss the role of poetry in the Kumon Reading Program.
• Kumon’s Guide to Celebrating Earth Day Every Day — Toru Kumon’s mission for Kumon was “to foster sound, capable people and thus contribute to the global community.” In that spirit, this feature will provide information about Earth Day, ideas for celebrating the holiday at home and examples families can use to treat the Earth better. From composting and gardening, to reducing, reusing and recycling, it is important for parents to set an example for their children as we all work to become better stewards of our planet.

Visit the Kumon Facebook page, where we share daily tips and inspiration, educational news stories, student success stories and books from the Recommended Reading List. Please join our Facebook community to benefit from our exciting, parent-focused content. 
In today's Tuesday Tip we have linked to a great article that provides some Tips to Help Children Develop Strong Reading Habits. Reading is an important skill that needs to be developed in children.  The more children read, the better they become at reading. It's as simple as that. The more enjoyable the things they read are, the more they'll stick with them and develop the reading skills that they'll need to reach their true potential. The more young children are read to, the greater their interest in mastering reading. Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing. It enhances the development of their spoken language skills, their ability to express themselves verbally.

Reading, by way of books, magazines or websites, exposes children to new vocabulary. Even when they don't understand every new word, they absorb something from the context that may deepen their understanding of it the next time the word is encountered. When parents read aloud to children, the children also hear correct pronunciation as they see the words on the page, even if they can't yet read the words on their own. The list below are five great reasons why reading is important!

  1. Reading help children develop vital language skills
  2. Reading can open up new worlds and enrich children's lives.
  3. Reading can enhance children's social skills.
  4. Reading can improve hand-eye coordination.
  5. Reading can provide children with plenty of good, clean fun!

There are so many ways in which reading continues to be both a vital skill for children to master, and an important source of knowledge and pleasure that can last a lifetime. Nurture it in your children. Make the most of all the resources that are available and waiting for you: printed books, online books, magazines and the internet. Encourage follow-up activities involving creative writing skills and the arts, as well, so that your children can reflect upon or expand on what they've absorbed and, at the same time, develop their own creativity. As you help your childrens appreciate the magic of reading, you'll find that there's a whole wonderful world full of children's literature out there that YOU can enjoy too.