Thirteen-year-old Zairia and her 8-year-old sister Hailey are reading bedtime stories live on their Facebook page to children whose parents don’t read to them before the youngsters go to bed. They read also if parents are too busy to read to their children. They read to other children because their mother has read to them since they were born. They want other children to know the joy of reading.

I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp. — JK Rowling

Parents give their children the joy and love of reading by reading to them regularly, and one of the best times to do so is before they go to bed. Parents can share books with their children they loved when they were growing up. They can reread books the children have learned to love. Parents, caregivers and teachers need to celebrate reading.

When we read books, fiction or nonfiction, we travel through all kinds of experiences, in the same way that a pilot travels through a flight on a simulator. — Sandra Marinella

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you will go. — Dr. Seuss

Reading is fundamental. Reading develops your children’s brains and helps them know about the world around them. If children want to learn to read, they will read. Books teach your children about other children, about manners, and how other children handle their problems. Books take your children on adventures and develop their imaginations. Books open worlds to your children.

If children are motivated to read, nothing will keep them from loving to read. The website parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/reading/18-genius-ways-to-make-kids-love-reading suggests ideas to keep your children of all ages interested and motivated to love reading. Such methods as listening to audio books, reading a book and seeing the movie made about that book, and continue reading aloud to your children even when they can read themselves, provide treasures for developing lifelong readers.

Helping kids to hone their reading and communication skills is essential. If a child does not know how to read and write well, he or she will be left behind in our information-based society. — Conrad Storad

One of the ways parents, caregivers and teachers can help children love reading and books is to encourage them to enter the “Love of Reading” contest sponsored by the Sahuarita Sun and SUPPORTING SUPER STUDENTS during the month of February. This is the third year for the contest, and the theme this time is “The VERY, Very Best Book Ever.”

Your children must write why it is their favorite and turn it in to the Sahuarita Sun newspaper office in the Sahuarita Plaza, around the corner from Big Lots, or email it to me — bettemroz@gmail.com — before Friday, Feb. 28. The winner (individual or class) will receive a treat, a gift certificate and their picture in the newspaper during the first week of March.

To read skillfully, purposefully, thoughtfully, critically is still an outstanding accomplishment. — Eulalia Bourne

Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at bettemroz@gmail.com

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