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Lighten Up
Help your kids realize that reading pertains to more than just books. Encourage them to get their hands on everything they can, including comics, game directions, cereal boxes and kid-friendly websites. "Even having them go online and search for things—it's still reading. It's still having them comprehend and synthesize the information from what they've read," Nancy says.

Just as you'd curl up with your favorite magazine, there are publications geared toward kids, as well. Nancy says Time for Kids and Weekly Reader are great magazines to keep your children in tune with the outside world. And don't discount your local newspapers! The Detroit Free Press, like many other print publications, has a supplement for kids called Yak's Corner—keep an eye out for your local paper's version.

Nancy says it's more difficult to interest boys in reading than girls. Boys, she says, aren't typically interested in narratives, and most of the books available for younger kids are just that. This is no excuse to let your sons off the hook. "For a lot of boys, it might Sports Illustrated, but it doesn't matter what they read as long as they read," Nancy says.

Reading and writing go hand in hand at the early stages of literacy. In the past, according to Nancy, teachers have often been discouraged to allow students to write about bloody fantasies or violence of any kind, but in recent years, Nancy and other teachers have found that letting little boys write about topics they're interested in is more productive than asking them to journal about their favorite memory.

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