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Creating Lifelong Readers with Kindle & the Scripps Spelling Bee

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One of my most vivid childhood memories involves our family of five sharing a meal and trying to stump one another with challenging words to spell. My siblings and I would try to find the most obscure words in medical journals, various encyclopedias, and law documents. We held mock spelling bees and cheered for one another during local competitions and when my sister had the honor of participating in the Scripps Spelling Bee . We bonded over this playful competition and although I did not realize it then, this banter came to sculpt us and make us into the lifelong learners, readers and knowledge seekers that we each came to be. Literacy is in our blood.

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I am sure my upbringing was the catalyst for me choosing the path of education. I had the chance to share my thirst for knowledge, and passion for reading. As an educator, I always felt the importance of cultivating an early love of reading was my purpose. Strong early literacy skills are the foundation of becoming a good reader. I like to keep the focus on reading~using real text to expose them to new reading strategies.

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The tools offered by the Kindle e-reader uses technology to take reading to a whole new level without taking the actual reading out of it. Early reading leads to a better vocabulary and word comprehension. Great readers are great spellers! Now that I am raising three littles of my own, I am always on the hunt for ways to expand their reading experiences. I am strict with "screen time" and don't like all the distractions that can steer them off course when they are supposed to be reading. Kindle is designed just for reading!

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Kindle e-readers have built-in reading features to help support children as they expand their reading skills and vocabulary. My favorite is the "word -wise" feature which automatically shows short and simple definitions above difficult words to help readers tackle challenging text. I love this feature because it is like having a built in reading buddy with less interrupted reading time.

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The vocabulary builder is another excellent feature which compiles words you look up in the dictionary into a list for easy access. Kids then can use "flashcards" and quiz themselves until they've mastered the new words.

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The kids love pressing on an unknown word and having the definition pop right up for them. Again the value here is in the flow of continuous reading enabling more time reading and less time spent asking for unknown words or stopping to look them up elsewhere or let's be honest~not looking them up at all.

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The reading tools on the Kindle e-reader are both impressive and addictive. My kids can't stop reading (swoon!) and have taken the Kindle e-reader to the ball field and even shared it with friends during play dates.

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I love that we can literally hold thousands of books in the palm of one hand! It's all about the Kindle! Of course, Kindle FreeTime is a fave of the kids as well. They can read books that are specifically designed for them and they are rewarded with achievement badges when they reach their reading milestones. Parents stay in the loop with a progress report showing total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned and books read. Goodbye boring timers and reading logs!

Kindle lets reading be an experience that is exciting, encouraging and motivating. Of course, I have passed on the Spelling Bee madness to my own children and they love doling out words, challenging each other to spell words they can hardly pronounce. We will be catching the Scripps Spelling Bee on ESPN on Thursday May 26 from 8-10 PM, EST.

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