Raising Kids Who Read
Date posted: July 24, 2015
The same quest comes up every summer: how do we maintain our children’s reading skills and interest level through the summer break from school? As parents and educators, how do we encourage youth to desire to read in their leisure time?
Daniel T. Willingham offers some practical and easy-to-follow advice on this matter in Raising Kids who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do.
There are going to be frustrating moments, but it’s essential that you don’t show that it’s getting to you. If the interaction is negative, that emotion may rub off on reading, but even if it doesn’t, it’s going to make your child reluctant to partner with you for reading.
I can offer four suggestions if you find yourself frustrated. First, the habit of not talking much is not only good for your child (so she hears mostly her own voice, reading) but also good for maintaining your composure when you’re frustrated. Second, when you do speak, you can usually find an intonation other than frustration that carries your message in a positive way. When my youngest would look to me for help on the same word three times in sixty seconds, my inclination was to shout, “You KNOW this one.” I trained myself to say, “You know this one,” with the intonation of, “You sly dog.” I probably should have said nothing, but at least I used a positive tone. Third, remind yourself that the whole session is only five or ten minutes. Fourth, if you just can’t keep it together, quit. Ask your child to read with you later. Grinding through the process gives a little practice in decoding, but it carries too high a cost in motivation”. (p. 90)
In a recent interview with NPR, Willingham discusses the difference between teaching children to read and teaching them to like to read. In this interview, the author also shares his thoughts on the act of reading through electronic devices and the effects and outcomes involved. To read the interview with Willingham, click here.
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