Lopez: Eagle County Schools rolls out Reading is My Superpower, with free interactive app (column) | VailDaily.com

Lopez: Eagle County Schools rolls out Reading is My Superpower, with free interactive app (column)

Maggie Lopez, Ph.D.
Special to the Daily |

Literacy is one of the most important gifts we can give our children. From the time they are babies, connections and that early foundation for all learning begins with a child’s exposure to books.

We know that brain development, as well as vocabulary development, begin very early in a child’s life. When we read to our kids and talk to them, if simply by playing word games, we are developing our youngsters’ vocabularies. Early literacy experiences that provide rich vocabulary and literacy-rich encounters and environments support pre-reading and cognitive skills growth.

Early literacy activities can include early exposure to books, language activities, frequent conversation and even word play. Rhyming, singing and talking from birth on can influence the early foundation for children to not only become proficient readers, but also active learners.

Those exposures to early literacy activities make reading fun and less mysterious for children. In fact it allows for reading to become a natural part of their lives — something fun. We know that what children love, they want to do often. When early reading exposure “hooks” students into a love of reading, children develop essential skills for school success.

Those children whose families read to them, even if only a few minutes a day, are giving them a “superpower.” You are opening the world to your child. Today in this world of technology and social media, reading often becomes the desired method of communicating with one another, especially as our kids grow older. Today and tomorrow’s youth, no matter what age, will be reading hardcover books, digital books on their computers, cellphones, tablets and whatever the next technology invention brings.

I don’t remember the last time I read a newspaper that wasn’t online, including this one. No matter our age or the method of accessing reading materials, it is a part of our everyday life and an important way to become global citizens and be informed.

Eagle County Schools is proud to kick off its Reading is My Superpower early-literacy initiative. We have partnered with Footsteps2Brilliance to provide mobile access to thousands of interactive books, games and songs in both English and Spanish.

These interactive reading activities are free, easy to use and available through an early-literacy app. The program offers pre-kindergarten through third-grade literacy opportunities for any child in our county. Through the use of any mobile device, including a computer or cellphone (Android or Apple), there is an opportunity for families and children to access literacy learning opportunities in an engaging way, any time of the day or night, 24-7.

Remember when you’re out and about this holiday season, every minute your child is looking for an activity to entertain him or herself, he or she could actually be learning and exploring using their Reading Superpower. The FootSteps2Brilliance app is guaranteed to bring your child back for more.

To get started, simply go to http://www.eagleschools.net/reading to learn more and register. Then go to your favorite app store and download the free Footsteps2Brilliance app. We hope to see many of our youngsters on a mobile device this vacation participating in Reading is My Superpower and using the app to grow their reading skills and have fun.

Maggie Lopez, Ph.D., is the interim superintendent of Eagle County Schools. She can be reached at margarita.lopez@eagleschools.net.

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