Reading, reading, reading

October 26, 2009

by Jenni Sebora

My 12-year-old son’s favorite store is Barnes and Noble. He would go there every week if he could. He had some money saved up and asked if I could take him and a couple friends to this favorite store.

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed, because, honestly, I love the book store as much as he does, and the store (more like a library to us) feels like home to me and to him because we frequent it quite often.

On this venture, he and his friends were on the search for Star Wars books, videos, etc. These 12-year-olds put their heads and pocket books together and each bought a different book in the Star Wars series so they could swap and share in their book club.

As a mother, it was such a delight to observe and listen to my son and his friends delight in a healthy shared hobby.

As you may assume, my son and his friends are not reluctant or struggling readers. But that is not the case for all children. What are some things that can be done to help a struggling or reluctant reader?

“Family Read, Connecting Parents and Children with Books” offers these suggestions:

• Read aloud together. Read, and then have your child read what you just read (echo reading).

• Try some books on tape or compact disc. Have your child listen to a book and read along.

• Try some shorter chapter books and books in a series (the familiar characters and structure of the book will be helpful).

• Find topics of interest for your child. My daughter loves ocean animals. She loves to read books on this topic. Maybe your child has a movie or a television show they enjoy. Find reading material based on it.

• Often such reading material as magazines, comics, joke books, trivia books, world record books, etc can be very motivating reading.

Let your child know when reading for pleasure that it is ok to not finish a book.

What if your child is reading above age or grade level?

• Look for nonfiction books in his/her areas of interests.

• Check book reviews at book stores and libraries and online.

• The classics and folk and fairy tales may be good choices, also.

• Talk with your son or daughter about what they are reading. Family Read suggests letting your children know that they are not in trouble if something that they start reading is found to be not appropriate.

• Look over books for age appropriateness. Take them to the library and help them with their search of books. Take an interest. Get help from the librarian.

Good books I am currently reading (I am usually always reading more than one book at a time): “Tuesdays with Morrie an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson,” by Mitch Albom (this is my first time reading this book and now Albom has another book out); “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” by E.L. Konigsburg – a Newberry Medal award winner of children’s literature (I thoroughly enjoy reading children’s literature). I continue rereading the books in “The Little House” series. And I’, currently reading “By the Shores of Silver Lake.”