Money-Saving Apps For Your Summer Vacation

Traveling in the summer can be very expensive, especially if you have a large family. Thankfully, there are many apps that can save you tons of money, whether you’re planning a fancy vacation abroad or a more modest road trip. Most people know about apps for Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Uber. But there are many other great travel apps. Here’s a list of some of the very best ones. They’re all free, so download them before your next trip.

AirHelp (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

When traveling by plane, we all hope that the flight will depart and arrive on time and with all our luggage onboard and intact. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. AirHelp will alert you if you’re eligible for compensation when your flight is delayed, overbooked or canceled and if your luggage is damaged, lost or stolen. All you have to do is to scan your boarding pass. You can expect to receive up to $450 in compensation per person.

BestParking (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

Road trips can be great fun but not when you can’t find a convenient and inexpensive place to park the car. BestParking helps you find the right spot wherever you travel throughout North America. Indicate where you’d like to park and for how long, and the app generates a list of available spots and rates for the nearest lots and garages. You can search by address, landmarks or sites or by neighborhood.

Dayuse (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

Sometimes, after a long flight or trip in the car, you need a place to rest or regroup for a few hours. When that happens, Dayuse comes in handy. This app lets you search, book and pay for hotel rooms for short stays. The cost can be up to 75% less than if you’d reserved a regular hotel room for the night. The app is available in Asia, Europe and North America.

GasBuddy (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

On a road trip, you don’t just need convenient and inexpensive places to park the car: you also need lots of gas. GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas at the nearest gas station. You can search in advance or as you’re driving. The app has a gas estimator, which calculates how much gas you need based on the car you’re driving and the distance you’re traveling.

HotelTonight (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

If you’re a planner and like to organize everything in advance, then HotelTonight isn’t for you. But if you’re going on a last-minute trip, or if you don’t mind being spontaneous and reserving a hotel room once you get to your destination, this app can save you money. It lets you search nearby hotels and find the best last-minute deals. It includes ratings, reviews and photos from other travelers so you can see what to expect. It’s available in Asia, Europe and North America.

Rome2rio (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

Whether you’re planning a domestic trip or a vacation abroad, there will be times when you can get to your destination in different ways. Rome2rio lets you compare different modes of transportation (bus, car, ferry, flight, train) and find the fastest and most inexpensive solution. All you have to do is to enter your location and ultimate destination, and the app will generate and compare all travel options. This app is available worldwide.

Transit (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

If you want to save even more money on transportation costs, consider using public transportation whenever possible. For that, download Transit. This app saves you both money and time by letting you pull together departure times for all nearby buses and trains, so you don’t have to look through individual schedules one at a time. Enter your desired destination, and the app displays all public transportation options as well as fares.

Turo (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

If you need a car but don’t feel like renting one from one of the many well-known car rental companies, consider getting one from Turo. Much like Airbnb for accommodation, this is a peer-to-peer car rental app that lets you rent cars directly from other car owners. You can expect to pay about 35% less than if you rented a car from a commercial rental company. The app is available in Europe and North America.

WiFi Finder (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

Whether you’re traveling at home or abroad, using your cell phone when Wi-Fi isn’t available can be very expensive, with high roaming charges. Get WiFi Finder. This app helps you find free Wi-Fi all across Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Even if you’re not being charged extra for roaming on your phone, this app comes in handy – it helps you find places where you can use your tablet or laptop computer free of charge.

XE Currency (Available on Apple App Store; Google Play)

To make your vacation as inexpensive as possible, you need to know the foreign exchange rate. The more foreign currency your get for your dollars, the cheaper the place is for you. XE Currency helps you find affordable destinations by displaying the foreign exchange rate in real time. You can monitor up to 10 different currencies simultaneously, which is especially useful if you’re visiting multiple countries.

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Travel Tips for Family Trips

It’s vacation season. Parents everywhere are thinking about the complexities of getting everyone to their fun-filled destination safely and sanely. Whether you take a two-hour plane trip or a 14-hour car ride, traveling with kids can be stressful. While a family vacation is a great way to spend time together, relax and make memories, you must make the journey there first. Here are some tips for making traveling with kids a little more enjoyable.

Fight hunger

Hunger can affect kids’ behavior and attitude. During travel, pack easy snacks for the car, like grapes, smoothies and crackers. This is a great time to purchase those individually wrapped snacks you usually don’t. They are easy for the adults in the car and seem like a treat for the kids. Stephanie Pratt, the mother of two girls, suggests planning lunch stops that allow kids to burn off energy like a restaurant with a play area “Much like you need to stretch your legs, kids need more,” she says. Packing a picnic for a rest area or park along the way lets them have some fresh air and lots of open space to play.


Timing is everything when you are traveling with little ones. Try to plan travel around normal nap times or bedtimes so that kids will rest during the majority of the drive. Also, plan breaks often enough so that kids can get out and stretch and burn off energy. Mother of five, Rachael Kennedy, says, “When we are driving on the interstate, we stop at rest stops, and the boys do races to get energy out.” Recognize that a trip with kids is going to take longer. Leave extra time in your travel schedule for impromptu stops, as well as planned ones. Websites like can help you find attractions and hidden gems along the way. The key to traveling with kids is to plan ahead but also be flexible.

Get the kids involved

Cut road trip boredom by getting the kids involved. Use games like license plate bingo or car color bingo. Encourage kids to keep a trip journal. Have them write down or draw favorite memories from each stop and add stickers and ticket stubs. Another great way to get kids involved is to give each a disposable camera for them to document their trip. When the pictures are developed, they can add them to their trip journal. “Make a checklist of cities you will drive through with a fun fact about each or what you will do there. It helps cut down on the ‘Are we there yet?’ questions,” says Kara Thomas, a Colorado Springs mom.


It is always nice to have a few surprises up your sleeve to break up the trip. Try packing up the kids’ backpacks and have them waiting in the car. When they get bored, pull out a few surprise items – new magazines or books, crayons and a new coloring book, special snacks, small activities and maybe some new movies to watch. Websites like Pinterest are full of ideas for traveling with kids. Darcy King, a Kansas mom of two, says, “Paint a cookie sheet with chalkboard paint and give the kids magnets to play with.” She also suggests gluing magnets to the back of puzzle pieces to use with the magnetic cookie sheet. Jenny Klindworth, mom to preschool-age twins, recommends Melissa and Doug brand reusable stickers and Water Wow’s. “They are hands down my favorite activities for planes and cars.”


For most families, the go-to solution for road trip boredom is electronics. DVDs and video games are a great way to kill time in the car. “Loosen electronics time while traveling, but when you get there, restrict time more than usual. Without a gadget in their hands, they will get more out of your vacation time,” says Kara Thomas.

Summer vacations teach kids to explore what is outside their hometown, the importance of family time and to make downtime a priority. Best of all, you will create memories that last a lifetime.

More Travel Tips from Real Moms

“The last flight, we used window clings. They were a huge hit.” –Sarah Huebner

“I keep my front seat organized so I can constantly pass things back and forth to them.” –Jennifer Klindworth

“Keep activities rotating! On long trips, we switch every 15-30 minutes with snacks, games, activities and screen time.” –Rachael Kennedy

“With young kids, plan seating so an adult can sit in back and help pass toys and retrieve dropped items.” –Stephanie Pratt

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Destination: State Parks

A herd of Florida Manatee swimming in the crystal-clear spring water at Blue Spring State Park in Florida, USA, a winter gathering site for manatees.

Majestic moments are ready to be made without even leaving the Sunshine States. With over 32 million visitors annually, Florida is home to 175 state parks covering 800,000 acres, each embodying a dynamic experience.

Whether you’re seeking a day trip or an extended stay, there’s a perfect park for every family. State parks host a variety of adventures, from beaches and swamps, hiking and biking trails, to exquisite gardens and artifacts from Florida’s indigenous populations as well as remnants of the first settlers to the Floridan coasts. The state park website offers pre-sorted options that help you narrow your options as well as an interactive map showing where all parks are located.

Accessibility is a commitment for State Parks. The organization has made strides to be more inclusive for differently abled individuals by upgrading services to include beach wheelchairs, all-terrain mobility devices and accessible kayak launches. And with over 2,100 employees and volunteers, personnel are on hand to assist and educate visitors as needed.

Where to Begin

Local indulgences are a short ride away. Beach destinations like Amelia Island and Anastasia State Parks are perfect for relaxing in the sand and searching the sea and sky for surprise wildlife. Anastasia also offers beach-adjacent camping.

Blue Springs State Park near DeLand is home to many manatees in the winter months. Not only is viewing these sea cows a rare thrill, but the park also has crisp springs to enjoy.

Bulow Creek houses one of the largest live oak trees. Witness the Fairchild Oak in its 400-year-old glory as you hike the trails. Close by is Tomoka State Park, which offers camping and boating opportunities.

Test your limits on the Palatka to St. Augustine trail. This 19-mile path weaves through rural areas. The trail is accessible at various points offering diverse round-trip distances to meet any athlete’s needs.

Aerial view of Dry Tortugas in Key West Florida

Further Escapades

Close to Destin, Topsail Hill State Park displays the lush jade waters of the Gulf of Mexico, paired with rolling white sand dunes. If the cabins are rented, glamping is another popular way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the beaches, paddling and trails

As the 175th state park, Gilchrist Blue Springs provides unparalleled clarity to view a plethora of aquatic life, all visible in its pristine waters. Hiking and nature studies are also popular at this location.

Begin or end your 1,515-mile sea-kayaking at Big Lagoon. This saltwater trail circumnavigates Florida. Bird watchers can spot numerous species here during migration season. Big Lagoon boasts beaches, boat and kayak launches, camping and amphitheater options.

There’s no need to take a plane for this picturesque destination; splendor surrounds the drive. Follow US1 south until you meet Bahia Honda: 524 acres of uninhabited space with lagoons, trails and picnic areas, all with access to numerous aquatic activities.

The ever-popular Florida Everglades has captivated tourists and locals. These internationally protected lands are known for their dark, murky waters, which are home to the American crocodile and the endangered Florida panther. While this area is a must-see, its neighbor, Big Cypress Preserve, is ripe for expeditions. Trudge through the swamplands or kayak the waters, guided by a park ranger. Then, gaze into one of the darkest skies in the Eastern U.S. during a campout and witness the bright brilliance of the universe.

Tranquility and paradise are unmatched in the Dry Tortugas, a national park accessible only by seaplane or boat. Since 99% of this 100-square-mile park is water, the best to experience its breathtaking crystal waters surging with sea life is to dive in.

There is evidence that Native Americans were present 10,000 years ago in Biscayne National Park. The protected coral reef teems with vibrant fish, coral and other marine life. Cast a line, hunt for lobster or enjoy this sea space while boating.

Plan Ahead

Wherever you choose to sightsee, discuss specific details and requirements with your destination, and inquire about any assistance you may need. Many recreation areas have parking and access fees as well as costs for camping, boating, fishing and other activities. Advanced camping and cabin reservations are highly recommended. Mobility equipment may also need to be reserved.

Whether it’s a history lesson, a splashing adventure or a nature experience, Florida has a park excursion to entice the entire family. From Pensacola’s Big Lagoon to islands beyond the Keys—and countless destinations in between—there are magic and memories waiting in every corner of Florida’s abundant oases.

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Let’s Fly Away: Fabulous Family Getaways From Some of Your Favorite Florida Airports

Looking for a fabulous family getaway?

The region is ringed with world-class airports, offering flights near and far. But where to go that offers something for both parents and kids? We’ve come up with five fantastic destinations, all with nonstop service from one of your favorite Florida airports


Grab some southern hospitality in the Big Peach and explore tons of family fun. Must-dos include visiting the Center for Puppetry Arts, which explores the art of puppetry; wondering at the 10-million-gallon Georgia Aquarium; taking in community-wide free events at Centennial Olympic Park; enjoying the effervescent excitement at the World of Coca-Cola; getting in touch with nature at the noted Zoo Atlanta; grabbing a hot dog and Frosted Orange at The Varsity; and explore a few of the parks and trails along the Atlanta Beltline.

For more,

Getting there nonstop:

From Daytona Beach ( on Delta
From Jacksonville ( on Delta, Southwest
From Orlando International ( on Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
Airfares start at $76


Austin, Texas. Cowboy Memorial in front of Texas Capitol dome.


Howdy, partner. A trip to Austin starts with sightseeing with Austin Duck Adventures, an amphibious tour on land and water; visit Austin’s hands-on children’s museum, the Thinkery; rent a bike and pedal along the Barton Creek Greenbelt; catch the sunset show at the Bat Bridge in-season where a million-plus bats take flight April through October; go horseback riding around Lone Star Ranch with Texas Trail Rides; and explore the city’s barbecue and taco scene.


Getting there nonstop:

From Jacksonville on American
From Orlando International on American, Spirit
From Orlando Sanford ( on Allegiant
Airfares start at $53



Get acclimated to the Windy City by heading to the Skydeck Chicago atop the Willis Tower, one of the world’s tallest buildings; tour the Chicago waterways via kayak with Urban Kayaks guided tours; build the fun at LEGOLAND Discovery Center, a humongous indoor playground; visit Sue the T. rex and more at the Field Museum and check out the She’d Aquarium next door; ride a Ferris wheel and carousel and enjoy lots else to do at the iconic Navy Pier; grab a deep-dish pizza.

For more,

Getting there nonstop:

From Jacksonville to Chicago Midway on Southwest
From Jacksonville to Chicago O’Hare on American, United
From Orlando International to Chicago Midway on Frontier, Southwest
From Orlando International to Chicago O’Hare on American, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United
Airfares start at $75


Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City.


The Big Apple is big enough for the whole family to take a bite. View the city from the top of either the 102-story Empire State Building or One World Observatory at Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere; ship out on the free Staten Island Ferry with stunning skyline vistas, which goes just past the Statue of Liberty, another go-to; stroll through the exciting Times Square and visit Madame Tussauds wax museum while there; indulge at the Museum of Ice Cream; be wowed at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum with their vast collection, including a space shuttle; try authentic Italian food in Little Italy.


Getting there nonstop:

From Jacksonville to Newark on United
From Jacksonville to New York Kennedy on Delta, JetBlue
From Jacksonville to New York LaGuardia on Delta, JetBlue
From Orlando International to Newark on JetBlue, Spirit, United
From Orlando International to Kennedy on Delta, JetBlue
From Orlando International to New York LaGuardia on Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit
Airfares start at $86



A visit to the nation’s capital is both awesome and awe-inspiring. The whole family will love the museums of the Smithsonian; there are actually 17 of them here, including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History and the National Zoo; stroll the National Mall, a large green space from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial; climb the 896 steps to the top of the Washington Monument; walk past the White House; get secretive at the International Spy Museum; explore Chinatown and grab some chop suey.


Getting there nonstop:

From Jacksonville to Washington Dulles on Allegiant, United
From Jacksonville to Washington National on American
From Orlando International to Washington Dulles on Southwest, United
From Orlando International to Washington National to American, JetBlue, Southwest
Airfares start at $121

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Long Road Ahead? Try these Car Games to Help the Miles Fly By!

  • License Plate Map. Give the kids a black and white map of the United States. When they spot a license plate from another state, have them color in the state on their map. It’s fun and a geography lesson at the same time!
  • Slug Bug Game. Whoever spots the most VW beetles in the most colors wins.
  • Car Bingo. Create bingo cards that include things you’re likely to see on the road (train, tractor, bike, stop sign, truck, etc.). As each item is spotted, cross it off your card. The first to reach BINGO wins.
  • Alphabet Race. Start by placing 5-10 random letters in a container. One person pulls a letter, and then everyone tries to spot something that begins with that letter. Whoever finds the item first wins the round. The person with the most letters at the end of the game is the winner.
  • Road Sign Bingo. Stay on the lookout for different road signs. Whoever spots five different street signs first wins.
  • Name That Tune. Play the first few notes of a song on your playlist and see if the kids can guess what song you’re playing.

Bonus idea: Give “Car Bucks” to the winners of each game (and for good behavior, too!) and let the kids redeem the Bucks for a special treat.

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Tips for Efficient Packing

Family vacations are a great way to enjoy time away from the daily routine and create lasting memories. But if you are anything like me, packing for a family trip can be overwhelming, especially if you have multiple kids to pack for. As a mom of six, I’ve learned the hard way how to make our vacation packing more efficient.

Start by making a master list. If you don’t have a list, you are bound to forget things. I have a list on my computer that I can copy, paste, edit and print each time we go out of town. I have additional lists for the type of trip. For example, we would need to bring different items if we are camping versus staying in a hotel. If you edit this list after each trip, it will become perfectly tuned to your family.

Once you have a list, begin to delegate. My older kids receive a copy of their list and are told to pack their own bags. “Everyone gets a master checklist of items for the trip. We go over the bag they pack together to make sure they have everything,” says Jenny McKeever, mom of two. “This gives kids choices in selecting items along with becoming responsible for packing, with just a little guidance from you.” This helps to reduce the amount of packing the parent has to do because it leaves them in charge of packing themselves and children that are too young to pack their own items, rather than one person packing things for the whole family.

For the most efficient packing, items can be packed by outfit. One option is to place a shirt, pants, underwear and socks together and place them in a zip-top bag and seal. When you arrive at your destination, kids can grab a bag for the day. Dirty clothes can be placed back into the bag as well. “I am a roller,” says Holly Searles, mom of four. “I take an outfit, pants, shirt, underwear and socks and then tightly roll. I often use a hair tie to secure the girls’ outfits.” Whether you decide to roll or use the zip-top bag method, remember to place the outfits needed first on the top of the suitcase.

Another way to make packing more efficient is to bring fewer items. Make sure you only bring what you absolutely need, or you may find that the family vehicle is bursting at the seams. “I do not bring a lot of stuff for the car ride. My kids do very well with a small toy, coloring book, small activity book and reading book and the DVD player going,” says Sarah Imbierowiz, mother of seven.

Remember that most items that are forgotten can be bought, borrowed or gone without for a short time while you enjoy your vacation. The most important thing to remember is to plan ahead. If you have a complete list and you start working on packing well in advance, it should go smoothly, and you will be able to enjoy your vacation without dreading the packing that goes along with it.

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Travel Survival Kit

Tips from our Parent Magazine Intern, Rebecca Heath

Going on trips with my Mema was so much fun because she was so well-prepared and had absolutely everything I needed. She could reach inside her purse and get out silverware, a poncho, a snack, almost everything! Here are some handy items for a survival kit.

Pack to meet your family’s needs and situation. It will be different packing for families with babies versus families that are traveling with senior citizens.

  1. Tissues
  2. Hand sanitizer
  3. Band-Aids
  4. Over-the-counter and prescription medicines and any necessary medical equipment
  5. Melatonin if you’re riding at night with small children
  6. Flashlight for power outages
  7. Spare batteries
  8. Paper towels for any messes in the car
  9. A plastic bag to keep trash to a minimum
  10. Candy (for bribes)
  11. Bring a towel that can be used at random changing stations or in case you have to change the baby in the car.
  12. Chapstick
  13. Phone charger and backup charger for emergencies
  14. Bring cash in case of card failure and extra coins for parking meters.
  15. Travel blanket and pillow
  16. Extra car key (on a different ring) in case yours is misplaced
  17. Bring a paper map in case you’re in an area with a poor phone signal.
  18. Power inverter with AC outlet and USB
  19. Umbrella
  20. A fan!
  21. If you’re traveling in the winter, put blankets, snacks and water bottles in the trunk in case you get stranded. The folks stranded on I-95 during the snowstorm found that out the hard way.
  22. And most importantly — if stopping halfway, pack a bag with a change of clothes and toiletries for each person for one night so that everything doesn’t have to get pulled out just for an overnight stay. Put that bag in last so that it’s easily accessible. In the morning, pack that one bag, toss it in the car and you’re back on the road in no time!

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Flagler School Honorees

Flagler Schools' Rookies of the Year.

Flagler Schools held its annual Teacher, Employee, and Rookie Teacher of the Year Gala on January 18 at the Flagler Auditorium in Palm Coast. It was a packed evening, with a parade of finalists from each campus.

Additionally, the previously announced winners of Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year also were recognized. This year’s honorees for that honor hailed from Bunnell Elementary School. Marcus Sanfilippo is the District’s Principal of the Year, and Donelle Evensen is the Assistant Principal of the Year.

“BES is making significant strides coming out of the pandemic, and Marcus and Donelle are two of the reasons this is happening,” said Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt. “The two of them have also worked together to re-engage the people of the Bunnell area with their community school, and that involvement is paramount to achieving success.”

Sanfilippo and Evensen are no strangers to the “of the Year” honors in Flagler Schools.

Sanfilippo was the 2007 District Teacher of the Year when he was a teacher at Buddy Taylor Middle School. He was named the District Assistant Principal of the Year in 2015 when he was at Indian Trails Middle School. This is his seventh year leading BES. How did he get here? It’s been a journey.

“I think just being part of a great team, the team here at BES with the wonderful support of our assistant principals, support from the district, and just being under other great leaders, having people model what it means to be a leader, and then just trying to exemplify that and live that out within the district,” Sanfilippo said.

Donelle Evensen

Marcus Sanfilippo

Evensen is in her fourth year as assistant principal at BES. She was the 2019 District Teacher of the Year when she was at Rymfire Elementary. Reflecting on this most recent honor, Evensen said. “My goal as an assistant principal is to be supportive and be there for the teachers and students as much as possible in order to help them reach their potential. This is just a little validation that I’m on the right track.”

Both Evensen and Sanfilippo are graduates of Flagler-Palm Coast High School.

Lee Winfree

Renee Berry

The January gala was highlighted with the announcement of Lee Winfree, a math teacher at Matanzas High School, as the District Teacher of the Year. He has been teaching for 22 years, with half of that time spent in Flagler County. He’s taught AP Calculus, AP Statistics and Probability and Statistics. He has also taught a pair of dual enrollment classes through Daytona State College.

Winfree is a graduate of the University of Maine and has a Master of Science in Education from Walden University and a Master of Science in Mathematical Science from the University of West Florida. His reaction to being named the top educator in Flagler County? “Gratitude. Appreciation. Surprised. I think all of us want to win it. We don’t expect to win it because we know how amazing all the teachers here are in Flagler County.”

Renee Berry, a secretary for Flagler Schools custodial services, was named Employee of the Year. Originally from Texas, she moved to Flagler County in 2009 to be closer to family. She began working for Flagler Schools as a testing coordinator with Flagler Technical College, then transferred in 2015 to Custodial Services as its department secretary.

When she heard her name called, she said it was “thrilling…but very humbling. I’m used to being behind the scenes, making sure everything is just right.” She went on to say, “To me, it means it’s not unnoticed. No matter how much you may think you’re not appreciated or how much you work and you think they didn’t see it…they do. They do notice you.”

Berry, Evensen, Sanfilippo and Winfree will now represent Flagler Schools for the statewide honors.

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Celebrate Read Across America Day & National March Into Literacy Month

Mother Helping Daughter With Homework In Kitchen

What better day to celebrate Read Across America Day than March 2, the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss? It’s the perfect kickoff to March’s National March Into Literacy Month, which is dedicated to promoting reading and literacy.

Read Across America Day was first introduced by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998. The NEA’s goal for the celebration is to motivate kids to become lifelong readers, thereby improving student performance. Every year, schools, public libraries and other organizations celebrate this day by holding reading events for kids.

Ways parents can promote reading

There are many ways parents can promote a love of reading and encourage their kids to read not only during this celebration but year-round.

Read to kids. Begin reading to your child very early. The NEA suggests that infancy is a good time to start. As your child grows, encourage your child’s participation in reading the story with or to you. Although your child may not be ready to read, kids often have some of their favorite books or pages memorized. Making your child an active participant will help develop their love for reading.

Visit the library. Think of the library as a big free educational toy store. Help your child choose some books, but also encourage your child to look through shelves and select some on their own. Your child can also take home audiobooks, video games, videos and music CDs.

Help your child build a collection. One thing common among reading lovers is how much they enjoy having their own book collection. Help your child build a personal library of your child’s favorite series, author or genre. Then give your child a special shelf to store and display the collection.

Play word games. Look for board, computer or phone games that help kids develop their reading and spelling skills and vocabulary.

“Think of the library as a big free educational toy store.”

Sign up for Goodreads. Through this Android and iOS app, kids can track both the books they’ve read and those they want to read. They can also check out what their friends are reading.

Subscribe your child to a magazine. There’s a host of kids’ magazines on the market and something for every age group. It will give your child something to look forward to each month and build enthusiasm for reading.

Read in front of your kids. Show kids that reading isn’t just a school requirement but rather a lifelong activity. Let them see you reading both to learn and for pleasure.

Form a kids’ book club. If your child is interested in it, this is a great way to build excitement for reading. You’ll want to find kids who are all about the same reading level. You’ll need to decide where to hold the weekly or monthly meetings, which could be at your house or perhaps your school or public library will provide you with space. You might be able to advertise it through your child’s school or public library as well.

Set up a reading room or corner. Find a quiet, distraction-free area in your home to designate as the reading area. It should have comfy seating, perhaps even a bean bag or two, pillows, blankets and good lighting.

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