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MADISON, Wis.– More than 861 million children are learning from home now, as schools around the state close to try and slow the spread of Covid-19. One of the easiest lessons you can teach your kids during this time is the importance of reading.

Children who’s parents read five books to them every day will have heard nearly 1.5 million more words by the time they start kindergarten than kids who weren’t read to. And a lot of teachers say this “million words” gap is the difference between successful and struggling students.

It’s never too late to start reading to or with your kid, depending on how old they are. And here are some free resources you can use to do that:

Scholastic’s ‘Learn at Home’ program is a great way to get your kids thinking, reading, and growing. It’s for kids pre-K through 9th grade and through scholastic’s website, you have free access to books. Click on an icon and you can read (or watch) a story based on the age of your child. And then afterward, there are different drawing and writing activities you can complete. These resources are available in both English and Spanish.

Speaking of multiple languages, Language-learning platform Duolingo is trying to make things easier for parents and kids with its new app Duolingo ABC. Not only can your child use the app to learn a different language, but younger kids can learn English.

Another option is Dictionary.com’s recently-launched ‘Learning at Home Center’ that provides English language lessons for students in grades pre-K to 12. All of the material has been created or approved by teachers, and includes spelling, grammar and word challenges, as well as fun family activities and writing prompts.

And for your budding artist… can you think of any illustrator who is more fun than Mo Willems? Whether Knuffle Bunny is your favorite, or Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, your child can learn to draw with Mo Willems himself, thanks to Lunch Doodles with Mo. Each short episode features Willems in his studio, teaching kids how to draw characters. A new episode gets released on YouTube every day, so you won’t be stuck watching the same thing on repeat.

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