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    The keys to early learning: good nutrition and good books

    Growing evidence from nutritionists and literacy experts suggests access to good nutrition and good books are the building blocks to early learning. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lack of enough nutritious food impairs a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school. Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years, says the U.S. Department of Education.

    Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children, just as access to good books is key to literacy development.

    To encourage reading and learning about healthy eating, share these recommended books from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Buddig Lunchmeats with your children:

    * “How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. “How does a dinosaur eat all his food? Does he burp, does he belch, or make noises quite rude? Does he pick at his cereal, throw down his cup, hoping to make someone else pick it up?” Just like kids, dinosaurs have a difficult time learning to behave at the table. However, with a little help from mom and dad, these young dinosaurs eat all before them.

    * “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. Sam-I-Am tries to convince a nameless skeptic that green eggs and ham are a delicacy to be savored − in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, with a goat, on a boat − to no avail. Reading this timeless classic will help your child with phonics, rhyming and language development while learning it really can be fun to try new foods.

    * “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett. In this whimsical tale there is no need for food stores because all the food falls from the sky. This children’s favorite is great for a read-aloud and discussion about where food comes from and how it gets from field to table.

    * “I Will Never Not Ever Eat A Tomato” by Lauren Child. When Charlie is asked to give his little sister, Lola, her dinner, he proves he’s more than up to the task. This book explores the fun and imaginative ways Charlie finds to get Lola to eat. It’s a great book for role playing and word games and may even get your picky young eater to try something new.

    * “The Gigantic Turnip” by Alexi Tolstoy. This delightful story based on an old Russian folk tale features a fable about planting and harvesting with a wonderful moral.

    * “The Lunch Box Surprise” by Grace Maccarone. When Sam discovers his mom forgot to pack him anything for lunch, his classmates share with him. This multicultural book features simple text perfect for beginning readers.

    During the yearlong Be A Reader campaign, Carl Buddig & Company is partnering with RIF to encourage parents and their children to read together. Studies show in low-income neighborhoods, there is only one book for every 300 children. You can help a deserving child by providing access to free books. Join the movement and help get books to children who need them the most.

    For more information about the Be A Reader campaign visit For more ideas on activities, tips and resources to help your child discover the joy of reading, visit

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