Sunday, January 24, 2010

Open Up Their Worlds...

My suggestion today is truly simple, yet may take some time and your help. In order to be an active reader who engages in their reading, kids need to have an interest in what they are reading.

This isn't to say that if your child is interested in space, like my Benjamin, that they only read about space, but it is a way to get them to grow as readers -- maybe just to read, or read longer, or read more challenging material.

Here's what I mean. When I had a hard time getting my boys to read, I first off, showed them how much I was reading daily. And I pointed out that it wasn't all the same kinds of books. I did show them, however, that I was interested in them and gave them reasons why.

In my reading I had: a newspaper, a chapter book for teaching, a cookbook, a magazine on triathletes, instructions on how to use the baby monitor, and a stack of my students' writing.

I told them how each one took different effort levels too. Some, like the magazine and the newspaper, were just to help me get information. Others, like the chapter book and the stack of writings, were homework. And finally, the cookbook and the monitor instructions were half "must read" and half my interests and enjoyment.

I talked to them about finding reading. Most times, kids think that reading is only chapter books, or books at school. Open up that world! Show them that instructions, magazines, books on tape, and so much more is there for them to read. I have even thought about turning off the sound on tv and putting on the subtitles -- that would at least get them reading in some ways.

My point today is to help them find material that is of interest. It may be cooking with you in a child's cookbook, or reading about a local attraction they want to go to, or even video game instructions (they may have to explain them to you, if you are anything like me).

Authors have responded to the need. You will find all sorts of levelled nonfiction and fiction that is in touch with today's children.

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