Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Your Kids to Read (Especially in the Summer) -- Tips from a Teacher

Reading is one of the most wonderful activities a child of any age can do.  The way the stories build their imagination, vocabulary, language skills, background knowledge....well, it's pretty spectacular.  Unfortunately, most kiddos view reading more like visiting the dentist (sorry, dentists) than the luxury most of us consider it.  (How many adults do you know who don't just love to curl up with a great book and just read, read, read?) 

If you find yourself with a reluctant reader, check out these tips that I used to use with my students to see if it motivates them.  As with most educational feats, the trick is getting kids excited about what they're doing.  Reading a book (especially reading a book during the summer months) is no different!

1. Ask your kids what they think will happen next in the book. Kids will be dying to find out if they're right, so they read away.
2. Ask your kids to draw a picture of a scene from the book and tell you all about it. The more kids talk about the book, the more excited they get about it.  If they're not great artists, have them make up a song and dance routine about the book.  Not dancers and singers?  Have them create clay/playdoh figures from the book.  Be creative -- what does your kid like?
3. Ask your kids to write an alternate ending to the book and compare/contrast it to the real ending of the book.
4. Read the book at the same time your child reads it so you can have in-depth conversations about characters, their decisions, conflicts, resolutions, scenery, etc.
5. Have your child read parts of the book outloud to you; this improves fluency and comprehension, while making the child feel that you are part of the whole reading process (if you are not available to listen, pets and stuffed animals work as great alternates)
There's a little reader in each one of our kids and it's our job to pry him and build him up.  Find out what your kids love and use that to help them love reading!
What do you do to keep your kids reading all summer long?

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