Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A thought about reading

I know that Historybusters is all about getting kids hooked on history through story, but that doesn’t mean kids should not be encouraged to read. Sadly, I work with more and more young people who can read the words, but when I ask them to explain what they just read, that can’t. Reading comprehension is critical, and when your child can’t explain what he or she has just read, you have a serious problem. So here are some tips for turning your kids into avid and effective readers…

1. Start turning you kids into bookworms early. Get them a library pass as soon as they have started school, introduce them to their local children’s librarian, and try to take them there at least once every two weeks. Your local librarian is the best source for recommending age appropriate books that will intrigue your child. Make the library and event and tradition. When I started the seventh grade, my mom began having me walk over to the local library after school. She would pick me up after I had spent an hour finishing up my homework and pouring through their books.

2. Set up a reward system for independent reading. The best age to begin this is approximately ten. By this time, kids read words effectively, but still have difficulty comprehending what they have read. What they need is lots and lots of practice on age appropriate books that they actually find interesting. Give them three months to read five books, and be sure to keep a record of each book as they have finished it. Let them choose the books, but be sure they are age appropriate and just a little challenging. Again, your local children’s librarian should be able to help them chose. If they accomplish their goal of five books, let them have a little family party to celebrate.

3. Keep bed times early, but buy them a bedside light and tell them that they can stay up reading quietly as long as they want.

4. Find a book that is not in the children’s section, which contains a story and character that you think you child will find interesting. Spend some time reading it to them. When you are well into the book and you are pretty sure that your child want to know how it ends, hand them the book ask them to finish it on their own. My mom did this with me. The book was Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave, and it is still one of my all time favorites.

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