Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Helping a six-year-old read

I’m working with a six-year-old.

I’m really excited about it, because he’s totally into reading. In fact, he’s frustrated because he says he’s learning too slowly. What a great problem to have – a child who wants to push himself to read faster!

Here’s how I prepared for our first reading session (and I’m hoping you’ll find something helpful here to apply to reading with your child):

* I asked his mom what his interests are (Lego, Star Wars, soccer, basketball, dinosaurs, animals).

* I asked what he’s reading now.

* I went to the library and asked the librarian for advice on books for a six-year-old. I thought I knew a lot about books, but getting the librarian involved was very helpful. She brought her own likes to the table, and made a couple of great suggestions like using the early-reader I Spy books.

I took out 15 books, to offer my friend as wide a range as possible including:

-a Spider-Man early reader (very cool – makes a little guy feel like a big kid);

-a scary book (“The Hairy-Scary Monster” – not really scary);

-a book about baseball (“The Littlest Leaguer”);

-Inspector Hopper (the cricket sleuth – because I love him);

-a dinosaur book (“Magic Matt and the Dinosaur”);

-a Mr. Putter & Tabby book (lovely, endearing, charming);

-a SpongeBob adventure (I know, I know);

-a Frog and Toad adventure (characters you will never forget – plus, you can read them as short stories);

-the I Spy book;

-“Drip Drop,” by Sarah Weeks (the librarian uses it often with groups); and

-two new Mo Willems books.

Because this boy is staunchly independent, I’m going to let him choose the first book, and we’ll take it from there. Besides reading together, I’m going to try to work on some consonant blends (th, sh).

I have another trick up my sleeve, which I’ll use in a future session. I’m going to write him a short story about himself, based on his interests. It will be very simple… and you know, I might include some photos of him in it as well. I’ll have to talk to his mom about it. Hmmm, this could be fun!

Sorry I haven't blogged recently - I've had writer's block. Mo Willems is the specific writer who has blocked me, actually. Well, him and/or his publicist. Last week, I approached his publisher for rights to put a little picture of one of his bookjackets with this post. She said I'd have to call his publicist, which I did. He said he'd have to ask Mo Willems. I don't know if he did or didn't, but they haven't gotten back to me and it's been a week. I give up, and I'm posting without them. Boo!

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