September 23rd 2013

What is the hardest part of the back to school routine at your house? For many the biggest challenge is establishing and enforcing a reasonable bedtime for everyone. Doing this is important because adequate sleep enhances learning and provides less hectic mornings.

How much sleep is enough? According to the National Sleep Foundation, on average children between 5 years-old and 10 years-old need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night, 10 to 17 years-old require 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep a night.

The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research reports that sixty percent of grade school and high school students complain about being tired at school and 15 percent of those actually fell asleep in class.

Develop a Bedtime Ritual

Experts recommend keeping your child’s bedtime schedule and routine consistent and as stress-free as possible. Requiring a regular time for bed can be less stressful when parents develop a plan to wind down the day. The routine could become a highlight of everyone’s day. Here a few activities to consider for your family’s evening routine.

•   Pack up homework and books near the door.

•   Dim the lights to prepare the brain and body for slowing down.

•   Power-off electronic devices, computers, and phones. Use this time to relax and read.

•   Play soothing music.

•   Lay out clothes, shoes, and supplies for tomorrow.

•   Take a warm bath or shower.

•   Put pajamas on and brush teeth.

•   Enjoy a bedtime story together.

Read Up summer reading was a success.

Children received 27,000 new books across Dona Ana County as part of the READ-UP summer reading program.  Volunteers participated by reading to children in parks, libraries and schools and helping to sort and deliver thousands of books. Many volunteers were needed and they came from all over the county. Participants included helpers from AAUW, AARP, NMSU Theatre Arts Department, Wellspring Church, Temple Beth El, Peace Lutheran Church, Unitarian Universalist Church, Newman Center, Progressive Voters Alliance, Dona Ana Arts Council, Dolores Wright Community Center, and numerous book clubs.

Read-Up is an early literacy initiative sponsored by the Children’s Reading Foundation and was financed by a grant from the U S Department of Education.

September 21

Family Literacy Expo is Saturday, September 21 at Lynn Middle School, 950 S. Walnut St. 11:00 to 3:00. The whole family is invited to enjoy free hamburgers and hot dogs,  books, activities and door prizes.

Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with Children’s Reading Foundation of Dona Ana County, Las Cruces Public Schools and New Mexico State University to provide workshops and parent education for families of all ages. Some of the topics to be explored are Evaluating Literacy Apps for Children, Reading with your Toddler,  Creating early learning opportunities at home, vision screening, finding help for dyslexia, tutoring. Parents will learn how to create a rich reading environment at home. Activities for children will include puppet making, a book walk, and story tellers.

September 26

You  are invited to attend Literacy Night–An Evening with Local Authors on Thursday, September 26 at 5:30 pm at Las Cruces Academy. This event is a fundraiser to support the programs of the Children’s Reading Foundation of Dona Ana County.

Currently, there is immediate need for funds to continue two family reading programs.

First Teacher literacy workshops provide important support to families with three and four year old children. Parents learn about the dynamic brain development occurring before school ever starts and are empowered to provide literacy-rich activities at home. Parents receive training, “purposeful play” materials and books appropriate for their children. New groups will begin just as soon as funds are available.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a program for children from birth through five years old. An age-appropriate book is sent directly to the child’s home once a month through the postal service. The cost is $28 per year, per child. While some families are able to access this service on their own, CRF-DAC has a waiting list of children who are in need of financial sponsorship.

Las Cruces Academy is located at 1755 Calle De Mercado Mesilla NM 88046.  RSVP and donations can be sent to CRF of Dona Ana, PO Box 285, Mesilla, NM  88046 or on line at  or Email Steve Fischmann at