Special to The Hays Daily News

One of the most important factors in predicting success in school and in life is the ability to read.

Every day, we have the need to read -- whether it be to know what cereal to eat for breakfast, which medicine to take and how often, the highway signs to guide us to our work, or enjoying a good book just for the pleasure of it.

Joanne Jennings, reading coordinator for Hays USD 489, was the featured speaker at the Foster Grandparent Program on the Feb. 4 inservice meeting at Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

Jennings, a reading expert, shared tips for helping children read.

Simple tactics can make a difference in enabling a child to learn how to help themselves while learning to read. Pause. Give the child the chance to solve the problem. Prompt. That is, look at the picture, check the first letter and think about the story and what would make sense. Finally, give praise when the child reads a word or sentence correctly.

Foster Grandparents are older volunteers who have patience and give encouragement to children every day. They devote their time helping children acquire some of the most important skills they will need to advance in school.

The program is sponsored by Fort Hays State University and funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Funds are also provided by Ellis County.