Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting kids reading: What does work

What does work. (By Getting Kids Reading.)

Reading to your kid every day. The number-one thing you can do to create a reader.

Letting him see you read. Kids do what their parents do. If you don't enjoy reading - fake it. Or read magazines or comic books or something.

Surrounding your kid with books. Access to books gives a kid ownership and once they feel entitled to books they're more likely to casually pick them up - now and throughout their life.

Reading extensions. I'm referring to other media that are associated with certain books - movies, a TV series, cartoons, merchandise - that may interest the child in a book. Who cares what hooks the child into reading? As long as he eventually reads the book, it's all useful.

Letting your kid choose what he reads. Many schools now go by the maxim that "any reading is good reading" and, barring violence or inappropriate content, I agree. If you don't like his choices, then find something similar that you do approve of. For instance, if he's reading Superman comics, find him novels with superheroes.

Treating books like treasures. Books contain: secrets, surprises, gems, rewards, new friends, adventures, useful facts, gross stuff, silliness and lots of other things your kid values. Let your kid see that a book is something precious and exciting and cool.

Turning off the TV. Much as I hate being the bad cop, you've gotta, gotta limit screen-time. Create space for reading time. Here's a GKR article about the reading bubble.

Sharing books with friends. The next time your child's friend is over, casually mention that your kid is reading "....." book, and ask what they're reading. Before you know it, the two will be having a conversation about books. And that will reinforce what you're trying to do in a way that only peers can.

Letting girls be girls and boys be boys. Your boy may want to walk around while he reads. Boys need to move, especially when they're thinking. Your daughter may want to read stuff about dogs and love and celebrities. Girls often gravitate towards books with detailed relationships. (Advice: get your boy an exercise ball to sit on instead of a chair; get your girl a book with an empowered heroine who has sophisticated relationships.)

Never giving up. Don't stop trying to get your kid to read. It's so important. So, so important. If one thing doesn't work, try something else. One day it will click and your kid will be a reader. And spend the rest of his or her life thanking you.

4 comments:

Michele Latham said...

I love these tips! Thanks

siamese said...

I started this new online book club, for kids and adults!
The web address is http://bookclub.webplus.net/index.html

Anonymous said...

love this

Racquel said...

In today’s society many children, especially boys, do not find reading intriguing. I am responding to this blog as it is a burning issue of mine to try and find solutions to this cycle.
I read a chapter from a book entitled “Teaching the Language Arts-Forward Thinking in Today’s Classrooms” by Dobler, E. Johnson. D. DeVere, T. (2013). It is informing educators on how to motivate their students to read. Children need to become engaged readers, meaning, they need to read for enjoyment, interest and learning. The book speaks about seven research-based rules of reading engagement which indicated that students are best motivated to read under the following conditions:
1. The reading tasks and activities are relevant to their lives.
2. Readers have access to a wide range of reading materials.
3. Readers have ample opportunities to engage in sustained reading.
4. Readers have opportunities to make choices about what they read and how they engage in and complete literacy tasks.
5. Readers have opportunities to socially interact with others about the text they are reading.
6. Readers have opportunities to be successful with challenging texts.
7. Classroom incentives reflect the value and importance of reading.
The chapter also goes on to state that reading authentic texts is another way to motivate students. This can be done using mediums such as newspapers, menus, bills, maps, cereal boxes and labels (things that people read in the real world every day). Students learn the importance of these types of texts and even how to read some of them before they come to school.
Boys are less likely to read than girls. They are less enthusiastic about reading, and they have different reading preferences. Lack of motivation and negative attitudes towards reading are two factors most commonly encountered by teachers when dealing with students. Researchers in the area of motivation have argued that motivation is the prerequisite to reading and learning, that it leads to a continued impulse to read and learn, and that its importance cannot be overestimated. Not only is it important to provide motivating reading materials to our students, but even more so we must work to provide motivating contexts for learning. We as educators can diversify the class reading lists and library collections in order to appeal to the reading tastes of boys as well as girls. Appealing to boys’ tastes can be accomplished by simply engaging them in discussions about the material they enjoy reading. “Finding the right books for children and parents to read together can significantly influence boys’ perception of reading” (Canadian Council on Learning, 2009)
I believe that in motivating students-especially boys, it is imperative that we as teachers get to know our students on an individual level. We need to be aware of their interests, likes and dislikes so we can better cater to their needs. This I believe can be achieved by means such as surveys, observations or interviews. Reading materials that suit boys needs have to be available in the classroom, such as cartoons, comics, news, sports pages, science fiction, fantasy stories, hobby and craft. According to Canadian Council on Learning (2009) self-selecting literature is very essential to the reading process that without its inclusion in a reading program, reading development will not occur. When given the option, students will make positive selections based on their individual interests and abilities.
Many boys view reading as a “girls’-pastime”. They believe that is too feminine and as such would rather play sports or watch television. I link this to the lack of male teachers in the schools to serve as role models for positive attitudes toward reading. Also, the fact that many fathers do not spend the time reading to their children contributes to young boys’ negative perceptions of reading. This task is usually left to the mothers. Boys can profit especially from male reading models to encourage them that reading is not only for girls, but it can be enjoyed by boys as well.