Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hannah Montana to the rescue!

I just had a playground conversation with a mom who said that her daughter just isn’t motivated to read. Her sons are avid readers, but her seven-year-old daughter, not so much.

The first thing to think about is, “What will motivate her to read?”

So we talked about what she likes. She’s a bit of a girly-girl, the mom said, and the only “reading material” she’s been interested in lately are those celebrity magazines with Hannah Montana in them. She doesn't read the articles, but she does look at the pictures. The mom wasn’t too thrilled that her daughter was getting into them, but we all know that with kids, you’ve just gotta go with the flow.

But this sparked a great idea. How about making up a small book, entitled, “The day Hannah Montana met Nancy”? How motivated would that little girl be, to read about the day she met her hero?

The mom said she could see her daughter getting excited about a book like that.

Two 8.5” x 11” sheets of paper or cardboard, sideways, and folded down the middle makes a cheap and simple book. The mom’s going to stick with simple sentences, and the whole story can be told in the six pages (not including the front and back covers).

“One day, Hannah Montana visited Sunnyvale School. While she was backstage, she realized her hair clip was missing. “Oh no,” she said, “I can’t sing with hair flying all over my face!” A little girl with curly hair came forward from the audience. “Why don’t you use mine?” she said, taking a clip from her hair. “Thanks so much!” said Hannah Montana. “What’s your name?” “Nancy,” she said. “Nancy – stick around after the concert and I’ll sign a special autograph just for you!”

We discussed illustrations, and came up with a great idea—her daughter can illustrate it herself. She can cut out pictures from her magazines, and draw pictures. Illustrating the book will not only give her a sense of ownership, but it will ensure greater understanding of the words by providing a context for them.

We’ll let you know how the project goes, and whether it does encourage Nancy to see reading in a new light.

(Photo source:


Anonymous said...

hey joyce
i talked to my daughter at lunch about the idea, and she turned it into a book of poems, about Hannah and fall... i am trying to follow her interests and go wherever she wants. at least she seemed excited about reading (and writing)something.
thanks for the chat.

Anonymous said...

That's great! Even better, since now she'll also be writing. I'd love to publish one of her poems here when it's finished.