Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Solutions for helping a Hesitant Reader

One of my sons is what I am calling a hesitant reader of books. He likes to read just not long books. Reading is not his first choice when he has down time. He is intimidated by texts that require stamina. But...1. he enjoys pictures with text 2. loves non-fiction. and 3. he likes to read short pieces of text like poetry and articles. So, rather than fight him all summer about finishing books, I have given into finding reading that meets his needs. A few books and things have worked to just keep him into reading this summer:

This book was filled with lots of information about the body. Did you know that along with the chimpanzee, you have over 2 milion sweat glands spread over your body? You think your molars came in late, well an elephant gets his last molars at the age of 40. Each page contains information about a particular body part, a freaky fact and a story about part.
Thanks to my friend Karen for sharing this book with us.

This magazine is something my middle son looks forward to reading because it is filled with what he loves...aticles about sports heros, current information about sports happenings (currently info about the NBA draft) and of course something to hang on the wall (each issue contains a pull out poster of a sport star).

Graphic Novels:
My son understood the basics of this story of a young boy undergoing hardships of the d
ust bowl of 1947. After reading the back of the book and flipping through it, there seems to be so much to talk about in terms of theme. A great book for him to read again and again to talk about new ideas and learning he is thinking about.

Reading in the Car
I have asked the kids to grab a book as we run errands or travel across town to see family and friends. This quiet time is like a trap. They can't go anywhere and other than the radio (which I turn off), they don't have any distractions. The short car rides have been just enough for the short stamina he has and during the longer car rides out of state, I decided to read aloud every couple hours or so ( I know books on tape would be the best but I am not that organized and have been on a budget this summer).

Reading aloud to him:
I hadn't read the book Savvy yet and I was dying to, so everyone heard it this summer on our long car rides. It was perfect for practicing conversation and comprehension that I worry about with him. We are still making our way through the book and liking it!

Choosing and finding books to read independently is tough for my son. So instead of pulling my hair out offering him tons of choices that I thought would work (while at the library) and having him shake his head no, I asked him to find books he loved to read during the school year. He picked out The Wonder Book and Rainbow Soup ( both poetry-riddle type fun reading). These kept him liking and feeling some independence with what he was reading when I asked him to read for 20 mins during the day.

We only have a few weeks of summer left but I feel like he has had some success with reading this summer. It hasn't been as painful for him in the past. I am off to finish The Book Whisperer to see if I can learn more tricks for hooking him ( but mostly kids in my own classroom) into loving to read.


Cathy said...

Katie, I love the way you honor your son and help him to find his voice as a reader. It reminds me of how important it is as a classroom teacher to genuinely try to get to know my students and help them find books that fit who they are as people & readers. It is obvious you are a reader yourself and want the same for him. I'm thinking "reader" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I know I need to continue to broaden my definition and honor the reading personalities in my classroom. Thanks for sharing variety of texts you've shared with your son this summer.

Anonymous said...

Love the ideas you shared. Keep plugging away, I am a firm believer in the idea it takes just "finding that one right book." You could also send him to my room. :)

mommy curlz-n-cars said...

I am a staff developer in campbell county kentucky, and as part of my position I also provide services to the gifted and talented students in our school. As part of their instruction this year, we had a small book club/literacy circle in fifth grade. We used the book Savvy. After reading the book, two of my students did a powerpoint to present the book to their classmates. I would be glad to share if you would like, just tell me where to send it. I loved the book, and so did the kids!

The Book Chook said...

I am the proud mama of a boy who seemed to me when he was young to have such a narrow choice of reading material. It bothered me then, and has taken until now (he's 23) for me to see him love to read. But still only in very specific areas (graphic novels, Kerouac, nonfiction about ancient history, The Onion).

I think some children are just like that. If we can do what you're doing, allowing him to choose, letting reading keep ticking over in his life, I think we are doing our very best for our kids.