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How (and Why) You Should Get Your Children to Love Reading

How (and Why) You Should Get Your Children to Love Reading

In the U.S., there is a truly distressing number of adults who are unable to read past an elementary level. In fact, 44 million adults in this country are unable to read a story to their children. Roughly fifty percent of adults are unable to read a book written for the eighth grade level. Almost fifty percent of adults do not read a single book in an entire year. The ability to read and write is the foundation for all other types of education, as well as the ability to perform well in most places of employment.  As a result, there is a proven correlation between illiteracy and income.

Many U.S. adults cannot read at the level required to earn a living wage. As a result of this, many earn an income that is considered to be below the poverty level. Furthermore, illiteracy and crime are quite often intertwined. In fact, the Department of Justice has stated that there is a link between crime and the failure to read. The vast majority of inmates in America’s prisons are unable to read past the fourth grade level.

Encouraging Your Child to Read

There is no denying the fact that encouraging reading within your household will bring about myriad benefits. Getting your child to read is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Some children love reading from the very beginning, but others need a bit of a nudge toward the shelves.

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Children need literature just like adults do. They need something that stimulates their imagination and deepens their curiosity, love of learning, and the desire to play. Offer them a wide array of books for them to choose from, to give them the most positive experience possible. They need to be scared, amazed, excited, and to have their curiosity piqued. They need something that will make them think, but don’t get so focused on providing educational books that you turn your back on the fun books. Let your child choose which books they want to read. Many children’s books are amusing, stimulating, and contain positive messages. It’s great to provide books that build their reading skills, but to only offer these will kill any love of reading they may already have. Reading is fun, and shouldn’t be challenging all the time.

Remember, the library is a fun place to visit. Take your family on regular trips to the library, and make it a fun and exciting outing. Get your children excited about the fact that there is a book on pretty much any subject they can think of. If they want a book about clouds, there are plenty of books available on the subject. Same goes for dinosaurs, princesses, bugs, horses, cars, zombies, and anything else that is currently holding their attention. Getting your child excited about reading will increase their reading skills. The more engaged they are in the book, the more value they will place on reading and learning.

Ask them about the books they are reading, and encourage a dynamic discussion. They will love spending time with you, and they will be thrilled to share all of the wonderful things they are reading with you. Ask them to read their favorite book to you, and show enthusiasm for what they are reading. This is their absolute favorite book, so you should get just as excited about it as they are.

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Improving Your Own Reading

If your own reading skills are lacking, there are some ways you can start improving them today.

Evaluate your reading habits. Do you tend to mouth the words as you read them, or say them aloud as you go along? Doing these things can slow your reading rate and make it difficult to improve your reading speed and skills.

When you practice your reading, make sure you set aside an ideal spot for doing so. Choose a place and time that will afford you the least amount of interruptions, the most comfortable seating, and ample lighting. Hold the book about fifteen inches out from you, or roughly the distance from your elbow to your wrist. This is the best position for reading, as it’s easiest on your eyes and on your posture.

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Read whole phrases at a time, rather than honing in on every single word. This will increase your reading speed, cut down on you flicking your eyes back to re-read something you already went over, and will boost your reading comprehension.

Build your personal lexicon by reading with a dictionary by your side. If you come across a word you don’t know, jot it down. If you can, figure out the definition based on context clues within your reading. If you’re stuck, refer to your dictionary. Not only is this a means of actively reading, but it will also build your vocabulary.

When you start out, practice reading for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time. Review your comprehension by summarizing what you have just read.

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Benefits of Encouraging Your Family to Read

Learning to read starts long before a child actually enters school. It starts with parents reading to their children, buying their children books, and instilling a love of reading. Those who are not read to, and not encouraged to read, will be less prepared for learning than other children. This will pay off in both the short-term, and in the long-term. The employees that are most likely to be employed in the U.S. have at least a two-year college degree.

Encouraging your family to read will allow them to make more informed decisions about their health, political campaigns, which pets they welcome into their home, which hobbies they take up, and how they will become active in their communities. Additionally, the more households that read, the more likely crime rates are to drop. There is already a proven correlation between adult illiteracy and crime. In fact, the least literate cities have a lower livability score and higher rates of crime. For example, Bakersfield is the least literate city in the United States. The overall crime rate in this city is 66% higher than the national average, with an individual having a one-in-twenty chance of becoming a victim of any crime.

Literacy starts at home, and it starts with you.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.imgix.net

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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