Showing posts with label Reading Help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading Help. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Why It's Important to Read With Your Child

Reading to or with your child is important at any age. Near the end of this school year I had a parent come to me and tell me she wanted to pick my brain about getting her daughter to read over the summer. I teach middle school and this young lady was getting ready to enter high school.  Let me give you a little bit of background on this family.  I had daughter one five or six years before I had daughter two in my class. They were polar opposites.  Daughter one devoured books. In the classroom she would often lead discussions about books or texts we were reading.   Daughter two was very compliant, but made it clear she just didn't really like to read. Her older sister tried to help her. She would recommend and pass on books she thought her younger sister would enjoy. I watched daughter two spend over a month with a book. I asked her if she enjoyed it and she told me no. I asked why she had forced herself to continue reading it and she told me because her sister said it was so good. Here are some things I had to teach this young lady and maybe they will help you.

First, make a list of things you like, or things you think you would like to read about. This young girl liked reading about real life things. That is why she thought she would like the book her sister had recommended.  Then she said she liked books where there was some drama in it. Drama could be in the form of bullying, friends fighting, small beginning romances (teen issues not sex related).  

The second thing she said to me was that she hated books that were too long. She was a slow reader and felt it would take her forever to read a book.  That was another issue with the book her sister had given her. It had taken her a month and she lost interest.  I took the information she had given me and pulled eight to ten books from my shelves. Some of them I told her I had not yet read. She picked the book Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings. The next thing I did was asked her how long she wanted to take to read the book. I told her to give me the exact number of days. Then I pulled out my little sticky tabs  (this is just one of the types I use). The book has 224 pages. She wanted to read the book in 14 days.  This meant she would need to read at least 16 pages a day. I put a tab every 16 pages give or take.  If a page didn't end with a period or was one or two pages from the end of the chapter then I moved the tab. I had created this system with my own daughter who was a reluctant reader. I do this when I have multiple books I am reading to review and have a deadline. It is an accountability piece for me, as you can see from my book below.

Not only did this young lady read the book in less than fourteen days, she talked to all of her classmates about it. To read it,  I actually had to take the book home the day she returned it so I could give it to the next kid who wanted to read it. She had talked to me about the book as she was reading and kept telling me I had to read the book.

Teaching kids how to pick a book they might like, and when it is okay to abandon a book is just one part of making a reader out of a reluctant child. Showing them how to break a book into manageable chunks helps.  The next step was easy. I told the parent, who wanted to keep the reading going over the summer to discuss with her daughter what book they could read together. Then I told her to schedule a time once or twice a week that they would discuss what they liked or didn't like about the book. I encouraged her to go to the library or the bookstore with her daughter so they could choose their next book. 

So what prompted me to write this post?  I read this post from "Everyday Reading"  in this post she talks about how to move from picture books to chapter books with your children. I realized very few people think about or realize that for reluctant middle school and even high school kids, there are strategies to help them transition as well.