Finding the Right Fit
We all know the research. Reading is important. But sometimes getting a child or teen hooked seems like an impossible task. One of the biggest struggles with high-risk kids is when their reading levels don’t coincide with their developmental levels. I mean, your sixth grade student reading on a third grade level will probably not be happy with Magic Tree House books. Yet, here is the quandary. How do we get better at reading? Repetition. We just have to do it over and over. Here are some quick and easy tools to use with your student to light their fire for reading.
1. Start with interests. What are they passionate about? Sports? Movies? Art? Find a common thread of interest.
2. Use pictures. When we are first learning to read, we are encouraged to look at the pictures to get clues as to what is happening. There are plenty of age appropriate picture books that can help struggling readers put together the pieces while they are building their reading skills. Here are just a few.
a. Go Mag. Forget traditional books. What about Sports Illustrated for Kids? American Girl Magazine? Okay, Teen People. It’s still reading!
b. Graphic novels are cool. They really are. They combine incredible art and manageable dialogue.
c. “The Making of…..” These books are great for kids struggling. When they look at books describing the making of certain movies, the pictures give clues as well as seeing the movie.
3. Pull them up. Forget their reading level for a minute and look at their cognitive and developmental levels. My son was limping along with his reading until I introduced him to chapter books. Even though he couldn’t read them, he started reading the name of each chapter. Then, the first page of each chapter. He is still working that reading muscle and can do an entire chapter on his own now. What was missing? He needed to read on his cognitive level. Inch them along with an age appropriate book that you read together. Remember the power of reading aloud to a child. It teaches them everything from the rhythm of reading to proper pronunciation.
4. Tag team. Consider getting two copies of a book you are reading together. Your student can follow you while you are reading and you can do the same. A great way to help them along.
Have a great New Year and remember the power of your every contribution.
Maria Murphy is a therapist, writer and speaker. Learn more about her at www.simplyputtogether.com